Say Hello To DBooks: A Book Publishing Platform On STEEM - Publish Your Books And Earn.

in #writing6 years ago (edited)


steemit is a social platform, where people share their original contents and get rewarded for them according to the strength of the upvotes gotten from other users. Thanks to the help of some users, it is now possible for us to share our videos (via @dtube), songs (via @dsound), live events (via @dlive), memes (via @dmania) and many more. These applications opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of the STEEM blockchain. As a book and story lover (though I can't write stories, but I do enjoy reading them), I got the idea to create a platform that will help authors on steemit solely focus on book publishing . So I spoke with the developer @feekayo at length about creating a platform where people get to publish their books and still get rewarded through upvotes, and it has taken about a month to achieve what we have now. Big kudos to him for developing the site himself with help of some open source libraries

We introduce

Copy of Logo – Untitled Design.jpg

DBooks! Ladies and Gentlemen.

DBooks offers you the opportunity to organize your posts into chapters in a book format and publish it as soon as you are through writing all the chapters/episodes/series. You get to upload a cover image for the book, organize and name your chapters as you like and can also break down a chapter into the number of posts you want. You also get to create your 'Pen name'.

What is DBooks?

DBooks is an application fully written in Javascript, which runs in the browser. It allows you to publish books (which could be a combination of series of posts) on the STEEM blockchain and enables earning of rewards from your publications. Whilst the application cannot be said to be fully decentralized, as even a partly decentralized system is innately non-decentralized, DBooks is implemented on a distributed MongoDB server to ensure scalability and a very small data footprint.
The Frontend was developed with AngularJS 2 with emphasis on Material Design, while the Backend was built with NodeJS on top of the aforementioned MongoDB. So yeah, it's a MEAN stack project.

At no point do we handle your keys. We do not even provide the option to login in on our site. We strictly use SteemConnect at all times, which is a reliable Steem Inc project. This product is basically an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of what can become the platform of reference for authors to publish their books and be rewarded for their work immediately without any publishing and/or distribution involved, so expect a lot of features to be rolled out in the coming weeks/months.
Just like most Steem based apps, will collect 20% of the rewards of users of our platform. These rewards will be used to fund further development which we actively plan on doing as we are still in the alpha stage and also cover the cost for hosting. We have plans to request for delegations from the community in order to help support authors that will use our platform to publish their original quality contents.

In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.

–Oscar Wilde

Book Libraries can be described as a sea of knowledge for lifetime learners. Little by little, our reading culture is fading away; we now read less and starve our minds of knowledge. I’m not just talking about academic books, but also good fictional literature's. There are so many talented fiction writers on this platform who on a daily basis post their quality contents. DBooks provides you the opportunity to publish these literature's and in the near future, we are looking at the possibility of developing the ‘book rental’ feature which will allow authors set the amount for rental for a particular amount of time.

When I first joined this platform in early 2017, there were so many tips written for minnows like myself by the more established users on how to settle down and create a following on steemit. Those posts were gold to me then as I was very eager to kick start my steemit career. But those series of posts are now lost deep in the blockchain, thus making it difficult for minnows these days to access. DBooks provides the opportunity for writers to resurrect these lost articles by publishing them on our site. The issue of duplicate posts on steemit has been taken care of. We have introduced a ticker that gives the option to either publish the article on steemit or not. So if you are going to publish articles you have already posted on steemit, I advise you click the ticker to indicate that the article shouldn’t be published on steemit to avoid being flagged.

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

–Oscar Wilde

The scope of steemit is ever expanding; we can now see various schools being created on the blockchain. These schools can utilize our service to create instructional books for their students. We will like you to see us as your main library where you can store up books and reference them at any point.

We strongly believe in this project and we also believe that there are endless ways this platform can be of importance to the community; it will be interesting to see how the community decides to utilize this great service. We therefore will like to challenge our users and potential users to explore the many possibilities of this wonderful project.

We will always be looking to improve our service and with the help of the community; through suggestions and open criticisms, we can only get better.

How DBooks Work

1. Go to

1 DBooks - Homepage.PNG

2. Click 'login with steemconnect'

2. DBooks - Steemconnect Authorisation.PNG

3. You will be directed to the steemconnect login page where you will input your username and private posting key.

You can find your private posting key in your steemit wallet under permissions, you then click show private key:

Posting Key.PNG

Dbooks does not at any time store your keys as logins are done using Steemconnect.

4. The first thing you will want to do is to create a pen name which will appear as the author of your books. You can change the name at any time, but it's better you stick to one. To do this, click on your avatar at the top right of the site as shown in the image below and follow the steps.

4. DBooks - After Login Homepage.PNG

5. DBooks - Change Pen Name.PNG

6. DBooks - Write Pen Name.PNG

5. Let us now delve in to the main part; creating a book. First, you click on the 'create book' icon on the top right corner below the avatar as shown below.

6.5 DBooks - create.PNG

This brings up a 'Publish Your Book' popup, and you will be required to fill in details of the book. A link to canva is provided to help in creating book covers. You will also be required to write a Book Synopsis, maximum of 180 characters. Click 'next' when you are done giving the details.

7. DBooks - Create A Book.PNG

You can now begin to add chapters to your book, as many as you require.

8. DBooks - Writing the Book.PNG

Below, you can see the option to publish the post on steemit or not. There is also the favourite option (You can add a book to your favourite list). The favourite is represented 'the red love sign' at the top right.

9. Chapter 1.PNG

Upcoming Features

DBooks is still in its early alpha stage and we are working really hard to constantly update it till we have the beta version and go on and on from that. A lot of features are still missing. We also plan on improving our UI/UX to make the user experience better. We have created this site in such a way that it is easy to interact with. Right now, we have just one developer who is shuffling schooling with running this site. Though he is in his final semester, the success of this project will help him focus on DBooks full time and wave bye to the white collar jobs till we’re able to hire more developers.

The Features we plan on implementing include:

1. Book Rentals

To create a feature where authors put up their books for rent. This will serve as an added incentive to authors that publish original and quality contents. The authors also get to decide on the amount their books go for.

2. Book Reviews

Reviews will help potential readers determine the quality of the publication. We intend to introduce a star rating system, where readers can rate the quality of books published using 5-stars. Additional reviews can also be written to critic the book.

3. True Decentralization

At the moment, the books are still being hosted on a distributed MongoDB server. We will try to make dbooks fully decentralized in the near future.

4. Profile Management

Creating a user profile page that shows the avatar, number of followers and following, bio, reputation and voting power of the user.

5. Improved Book Management

Being in the alpha stage, the book management can be better than it is and we plan on improving to provide the best quality service.

6. Custom Tags

At the moment, we are yet to implement the custom tag feature. All posts are automatically tagged, with the main tag being dbooks and
the other tag being the category of the book published.

7. dbooks App

We intend to develop an android app and also an ios app to further improve the user experience.

8. Multi-User Login

We intend to develop this amazing feature that allows a user to easily have multiple libraries linked to your account and switch between them easily.

Amongst a phletora of other possible upgrades.

We hope to be open source soon, and would be pushing the code to a bitbucket Repository in the coming days once we have guaranteed code stability and proper documentation of the current version.

Pictures are currently not allowed to be attached to articles as we currently want to focus on intense and serious writing first and foremost; However we are open to adding this functionality further down the line if the community demands for it.

Just in case you like what we are doing, and are interested in supporting us; be it through mentions, donations or delegations, our user account is and not @dbooks

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

― Jorge Luis Borges

You can contact me on @timoshey

And the developer on @feekayo

You can join our Discord Channel




this is incredible!
I am in awe at all the revolutionary publication platforms being built on the Steem blockchain.
great work!!!

Yeah, this is exciting! How will payouts work? Are they going to be Steem transfers? I still don't understand why the Steem platform is restricting the payout schedule to 7 days, it seems like quality content would gradually pick up votes and therefore rise to the top if the payouts weren't only within a week. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't vote for posts older than 7 days because I don't want to waste my voting power...

that's a lot of questions. if you vote for someone after 7 days, you help their reputation without effecting your voting power.

You are hundred percent right @donutboy
I think In this way We can Make them Happy without effecting Our voting power And its More useful for minnows to help them with Upvote.
My SP is very Low but I want to Upvote my dear friends.My Upvote do not make a profit for them but I think it Shows my Love for them.

upvote yourself too, tell your friends to do the same. your SP will grow overtime.

My SP is very low and my upvote will not make any impact on my Sp.
How it can grow with my Own Upvote?

it will over time. you can do it, you're just thinking too much.

Yeah, I misspoke about the voting power... but I still think it would be useful to extend the voting payouts to give truly quality content the possibility of rising to the top over time. Right now trending pages are dominated by those who have mastered the voting bot game, and those posts wouldn't attract consistent votes over time.

And I am very excited to read your first book about donuts!

thank you! it'll be a dream come true to have it out there. :]

what is funny and amazing?

Very cool to see more sites like your being build on the steem platform... is there a place that has a list of all the sites currently out there that have been built on the steem platform.. I would love to check them all out.. upvoted and resteemed.. good job.

these are the ones I know of so far:


take care of the we, and the me will follow.

Great idea! I can't wait to start writing my first book!

Yaaay! We'll be looking forward to it

Leaving comments asking for votes, follows, or other self promotional messages could be seen as spam.

Your Reputation Could be a Tasty Snack with the Wrong Comment!

Thank You! ⚜

This is simply awesome and comes at the perfect time! A friend is pushing me into writing a book for some time and she was just yesterday telling me, that I should make a book out of my Steemit posts! I will definitely look into your service. The one thing that worries me though is, that without a picture, the published chapter/book will not attract many readers when viewed on Steemit? Thanks @timoshey!

I also will get a chance to write a book soon.

Let's co-write a book for Dbooks on Steemit .I've wrote the first 5 chapter you write the next 5 .

Absolutely brilliant . The more time i spend in steemit the more i find value beyond speculation . Books , knowledge these are time resistant value for all ages . Bring more on.

I have two questions which concern me out of the gate:

  • Firstly, how do you intend to overcome the "can only be rewarded for seven days" problem when it comes to books? Is the assumption that content will be episodic in the sense of old-school pulp novels which were published serially? If not, then it definitely begs the question of how will books be rewarded after any content in them has been posted for seven days?

  • Secondly, in the backend, is it just interpreting Markdown for presentation? Is there any chance that we can get Fountain added as an option for those of us who don't necessarily write prose but screenplay format instead, and still want attractive output formatting?

Of the two questions, the first is obviously much larger and important..

As a writer/self publisher, I would also caution against putting real books on here. All of the bookstores (Kindle/Apple/Nook, etc) frown on books being available anywhere off their bookstore cheaper than it is on theirs. This would not be something anyone looking to make residuals long term with their writing would participate in if I am understanding this correctly. Amazon has crawlers scouring the net constantly looking for books on their platform listed elsewhere cheaper.

Even if you intend to demand that you retain distribution rights (which are in your control before you ascribe them to anyone else), the long-term reward architecture is something you absolutely need to be aware of before you decide to put anything on a public blockchain. Unlike most distribution mechanisms, you have no control over the presence or absence of it at any point going forward.

As long as one node exists of the blockchain, your work is forever immortalized and you cannot revoke it.

For most authors at this point, publishing directly to Amazon is probably, overall, a better outlet. At least for pretty much any form of non-serialized fiction. While serialized neo-pulp stories do see publication through Amazon, it can be very difficult to maintain public interest for such content because Amazon really doesn't have the architecture to maintain communities.

Though, honestly, given the questions about how long-term rewards can possibly be apportioned, you might be better off – as a new, unsigned writer who is looking to be published – self-publishing your work through Amazon (which is terribly easy, truthfully) and building your community wherever it is that you can find a following.

If that happens to be on Steemit, awesome. If it's anywhere else, you might want to look into something like Flattr, which doesn't have quite the complex management issue of Steemit, or going truly aggressively into Patreon.

Being an untested writer is a hard row to hoe, and honestly unless you feel absolutely compelled to be a writer to the exclusion of doing things far more sensible, I can't really suggest it. I'm not sure that there are any public blockchain architectures that would really work well with book publishing because of the issue of complete lack of ongoing control over the content once it's been posted.

For new folks, this might not seem like a big deal. Maybe it's not. But it will be one day if you're successful.

We have a feature in the pipeline called book locking... Which means that once you're done publishing your book on dbooks you can lock your book from public viewing. Then people would have to pay a rental fee set by the writer to access said content.

Of course the content would still be available for free on steemit but would lack the organization and ease of read we offer

We would really love to have you on our discord group, so we can discuss new features at length

You do know that nobody wants to rent books, right? This is a publication methodology that has been tried before – and ultimately just ends up encouraging people to find ways to transfer what is purely text content into a more distributable, useful format.

In fact, for anyone that cares, DRM might as well not even exist right now.

If there's one thing that we've learned about book publication (and if we're honest, any form of media), it's that if it is possible to acquire something more conveniently than piracy for a few dollars, people will do it – but DRM puts a speed bump there, making piracy far more attractive.

If the content is still available for free on Steemit, then that's definitely not going to be a great thing.

And you conveniently skated to the side to avoid my question about how books will be rewarded after the seven day Steemit posting. Instead, you've brought up a new question:

  • If I'm going to have to maintain different publishing formats in order to provide structure to the dbooks system, why shouldn't I post directly to Amazon or Google Books directly, given that it's relatively easy to do so and both of them will pay me in real money?

You've decided to take on two methods of distribution simultaneously, both of which seem to have fairly inherently superior advantages. PDFs and e-books are easy to generate from content, especially content already largely marked up with Markdown. Steemit already provides voting rewards without giving up a 20% cut to you guys, just from straight posting. What are you offering that is better than the current options in self publication for longform content?

I think I'd rather have this discussion here than Discord, where other people who may be interested can see it in context and it is nowhere near as ephemeral.

These are the questions that serious writers need the answers to.


I really love your points raised. A second option that has been discussed is making the 20% we get from posts serve as a monthly reward pool which will be shared amongst writers based on the percentage of the overall total reads generated by their articles on the platform during the course said month.

That would be a better way to provide writers with long term sustainable income. We really appreciate your criticisms and I must assure you that most of these issues have crossed our minds

We're going to provide writers with as many options as possible to generate sustainable income and they can choose their own poisons

However, these are still early days for us and we would need all the help and funds (the initial purpose of the 20%) we can get to develop the product properly

We're taking things 1 step at a time.

I really love your points raised. A second option that has been discussed is making the 20% we get from posts serve as a monthly reward pool which will be shared amongst writers based on the percentage of the overall total reads generated by their articles on the platform during the course said month.

After the first couple of months, this is going to be heavily weighted toward those with established presence on the platform and almost none of it is going to go to newcomers, and that's the way it's going to be until you shut down the project.

Now, that might be exactly what you want, but from the perspective of someone who is coming along later, they have almost no chance of competing in the midterm with those who already have an established presence. You are basically holding them in with the hope that they will be someone who is recognized as a creator within this niche in coming cycles.

You have effectively, philosophically, re-created "publish or perish" as well as a system which simultaneously rewards simply having been on the platform the longest. I am not sure that was entirely your intention.

Also, you immediately open yourself to be the target of some sort of distributed bot "reading" swarm, given that you are going to distribute that 20% by "reads." If I can buy up votes on the blockchain, I can most certainly buy "reads" for the same distribution mechanism.

It's hard to get away from the multilevel marketing whiff coming off of this. After all, let's consider the degenerate case in which no books are voted up for a month. There will be no 20% to take. It doesn't matter how established the writer is, they get nothing. Now let's consider the case where the number of people publishing books on the system triples, but the number of consumer and consumer-hours does not. In that period, each view becomes worth effectively 1/3 of what it was before. Unless the amount of the 20% taken can grow faster than the number of people who want to be involved in the system by a good amount, it becomes more advantageous for those already in to keep people out in order to protect their rewards.

You've just reimplemented a reward pool that mimics the same failure modes as the Steemit reward pool. It just keys often easier mechanism to automate.

However, these are still early days for us and we would need all the help and funds (the initial purpose of the 20%) we can get to develop the product properly

Unfortunately, you need to do more than minimum viable product to have a successful rollout. You have to have a system built in theory which actually does what you say you want it to do. It needs to be resistant to exploitation by automation, because we already know that sort of exploitation exists on the platform we've got. It needs to not set up mechanics which actively incentivize bad actor behavior. It needs to decide what it wants to do before you start implementing anything.

I realize that the "don't think, go fast, fail fast" process is popular in Silicon Valley circles, but I've always been fond of replacing that whole architecture with "don't fail."

For me, as a writer who is already published, I need some kind of understanding of the theoretical underpinning of how it's all supposed to work devoid of handwaving, and which reflects a fair amount of consideration about my experience as a user, to be the kind of person that gets on board this sort of thing.

I may not be the kind of user you're targeting. You may be looking for the people who are just looking for a lighter weight, less promising vanity press. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but if so you probably need to really lean heavily on what advantages your system will provide over what already exists on Amazon and Google Books – and if you can't answer those questions, find some answers to them.

There are a lot of ways for independent authors to self publish these days, ones in which they retain most of the rights of distribution going forward after publication. You have to compete with those.

I think the 20% distribution is actually a valid strategy. It doesn't have to be based on views.. could be based on likes too. It would be the same thing as Steem extending the voting rewards from 7 days to like a year we'll say. The only difference is that it's capped at rewarding only 20% and not the full portion of money.

Besides Steemit, DTube seems to be the most popular steem-based app right now. But with your argument, they too fall to the demise of the 7 day cap. Great video content takes as much effort to produce as anything else.

I think the real issue is with Steem. Steem misses out on a lot of use-cases by limiting us with a 7 day reward pool. One solution would be, when they release the ability for people to create their own tokens, to also be able to choose a time limit for rewards.

With that said, I agree with what you say, and I think DBooks suffers this problem at a much greater length. Also, the design of the MVP is very weak (a bookshelf as the background???).

I will say that fundamentally, the idea of DBooks is pretty interesting. If we were to imagine the centralized version of it, it would be like Scribd.

Thanks for your insights. You've raised very cogent points which we will seriously consider and discuss at length to better improve our business model

Thank you very much

We're really committed to this project and would love it to be fair, just & self sustaining for as long as possible

We really appreciate these criticisms and we would take them as constructive.

You've made very valid points. We are going to re-strategize and come up with answers to these honest concerns of yours and I'm sure others will share the same.
If the reward pool system based on views seems flawed, what do you think about a voting system like what we have in steem witnesses?
You've shared your concerns, we've listened. Now we would love to listen to suggestions if you have any. I truly appreciate your inputs, it just goes to show you care and you're passionate about what you love.

About the Publishing formats.

I hope you understand that this is a Minimum Viable Product. It might take up to a month, if not more to get to the Beta stage

And most of our workflow and methods would probably evolve over time.

Currently, nothing is set in stone. Our work has only just begun

"Minimum Viable Product" does nothing to make my author's ears perk up. You might review what @lextenebris has talked about. I'd say "discussed" but your only contribution to this has been what is essentially hand-waving.

If you would like authors to really look at your product, you should have more than a bare skeleton of what you're going to do.

I suspect that those aspiring to Silicon Valley-style development arcs may have an entirely different idea of what "viable" means than people who actually have to use products.

Out here, "viable" means that something actually has to work. It has to be fit for purpose.

This may be asking too much.

@lextenebris has helped us a lot to see things from a different angle. I don't subscribe to the school of thought that says one has to have an answer to every question raised. I feel it is ok at some point to press the pause button and further research the subject matter, then come back with an appropriate response.
We would work on the idea and bring out a product with more flesh on it. Your suggestions are also welcome.

Yeah there are big problems here. It's going to be people writing the same garbage posts that are insular steemit issues, publishing them as a book, and raking in whatever incentives are given for views by offering it for free instead of renting it out.

Just like short books on Amazon have been pushed to $.99, people will offer Dbooks for free, and renting will be a dinosaur as soon as its born. No one will write a real book exclusively for this platform, they will write "Trending" tripe in serial form and publish it.

This blockchain was built for social media. High turnover content. It's not made for residuals, and I think books would be forced.

I think energy would be far better spent building a marketplace to sell books for Steem or maybe even Delegations. That's the end goal, right? Selling books for Steem/SBD/SteemPower. That's what this is, so do it directly. Have a marketplace where someone can send a pre-determined amount and a memo to an account in return for a unique download/access code for the book. Automate the transaction with SteemConnect.

Of course, that's just a specific instance of the more general problem of "we need a proper storefront interface for doing business using steem/SDB as a currency," which is a problem that you would've thought the developers at Steemit Inc. would have wanted to get out the door on about day five, since the idea of a currency that no one takes in exchange for anything is a little silly.

The problem with selling any kind of media these days is proceeding under the assumption that it can't/won't be immediately pirated, and for good reasons.

I would love to have some kind of solution which would reward people for writing evergreen content; there is entirely too much focus on creating for the ephemeral and ignoring the idea that you might want to produce something that is useful and rewarded outside of an extremely narrow time slice. But you can't do that with the steem blockchain. There's no advantage to doing so and no system by which it would be worthwhile to do so.

I suspect that if there is a desire for curated, serialized fiction or nonfiction in a blockchain context, that particular itch will be scratched when hardfork 20 comes out with communities, which themselves can be run like a curated publication, accept submissions, only re-steem/publish the pieces that they decide are worthwhile, and get their money from the curation of a specific type of content while the authors get their money from the up votes. It means that authors can't get rewarded after a week, even if a new reader discovers them, unless they're constantly producing content, which is going to be self-limiting in a number of ways – but odds are it will work better than what we see on the table here.

I'm just trying to find a use case that works for DBooks and I'm just not finding it.

yea. maybe we need editors for this kind of books

Yes, you hit it, an online bookstore built on blockchain, where authors make money showcasing and advertising their books though upvote and at the same time sell the book for interested parties

Congratulations on creating what looks an incredible product.

Will definitely use this once I have a few more posts under my belt.

Resteemed this to help make more people aware of this.

Good luck :-)

We look forward to having you. Give us a feedback on your experience.

This is exactly what the writing community needed! I'm ecstatic and can't wait to use this!

Can we add chapters after the book has been published?

After you might have locked up a book, you can't add chapters anymore. But you can add as many chapters before locking it up.

This is simple amazing, wish you guys the best of success.

Ill get soon and see if i publish my book... its spanish... do you support other lengauges?

We do support other languages

Awesome... if you guys need help, let me know...

I have a community of writers in Spanish and a platform gathering this audience. Maybe we can work to expand this AMAZING idea into this inmense niche ;)

And create some buzz...

Can I write a poetry book?

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