Book Sprints: Zero To Book In 5 Days

Fabienne Riener (Sourcefabric o.p.s), adam hyde (Esetera)
Location: Empire/Hudson Level:
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A Book Sprint brings together a group to produce a book in 3-5 days. There is no pre-production and the group is guided by a facilitator from zero to published book. The books produced are high quality content and are made available immediately at the end of the sprint via print-on-demand services and e-book formats.

History of Book Sprints

The term ‘Book Sprint’ was coined by Tomas Krag (see his story below). In the first sprints held under this term Tomas and the Wireless Networking for the Developing World crew came together for a week to plan the outline for a book and then later work remotely on developing and editing the contents. The books took 6-9 months to produce but the one week meeting period was innovative and critical.

Adam Hyde met Tomas at an event organised by Aspiration and was inspired to try it with FLOSS Manuals. Adam experimented with the format with the aim not just to outline a book in one week but to outline, write, illustrate, proof and illustrate the entire book and publish it in 5 days. Zero to book in 5 days. This rapid development of a book in 5 days is now what most people have come to think of as a Book Sprint.

Since this time (2008) FLOSS Manuals has produced over 40 books though Book Sprints about Free Software. Some have been produced with sprinters working almost entirely remotely. Others have been produced in just 2 short days. There have been sprints to translate books and sprints totranslate books into other contexts. There has also been Book Sprints to rewrite the books created in previous sprints.

Recently there have been experiments to push the Book Sprint into areas other than its very technical origin. There have been a number of these Book Sprints including a book about co-working spaces, books about translation, and books about abstract ideas like ‘collaboration’ and ‘the open web’.

Photo of Fabienne Riener

Fabienne Riener

Sourcefabric o.p.s

Fabienne Riener is the Berlin-based Development Manager at Sourcefabric, a not-for-profit organisation that builds open source software for newsrooms, radio stations and media organisations. Their latest tool, which was launched at ToC 2012, is an open social production platform for books.

Before joining Sourcefabric in January 2012, Fabienne enjoyed a varied career in the media and arts sector including a two year stint at NBC Europe in Duesseldorf (Germany), running a Film Production company and setting up a Film Festival in Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK). She holds an MA in Cultural Management and has won a Royal Television Society Award in 2008. Having studied and lived in Germany, UK and the US she enjoys being a blogging social media cultural hybrid and feeding her curious mind with news and information about new communication and interaction platforms.

In her role at Sourcefabric she is constantly on the lookout for new collaborators, clients and partners. Follow her on Twitter, “@SourceFabienne”

Photo of adam hyde

adam hyde


Adam Hyde of SourceFabric and is highly regarded as a pioneer and innovator in networked and collaborative book production. He has also been working in open source for over 15 years and is the project lead for Booktype.


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