Today, Reedsy changes the way millions of authors will create books

Reedsy Book Editor writing tool header

We are incredibly proud. After months of work, we are releasing the first version of the Reedsy Book Editor, a writing tool that will transform the way millions of authors create their books. It took thousands of hours, and countless iterations on design and code to create what we believe will disrupt the process of writing and producing books.

Okay we’ve said enough. Now, showtime.

The simplest yet most innovative way to create books

The first thing we wanted to do was to create a great environment to write in. We didn’t want to replicate Microsoft Word’s awful interface and were inspired by the work the team at Medium did. We saw it as the way forward and designed a product that appears minimalistic but is in fact extremely powerful.

To format a book, authors will only be using our style-guide toolbar. Here is what it looks like:

writing tool format-bar

Medium users will feel at home.

We used some of the most advanced technologies for collaboration and contributed to several open source libraries

In the coming weeks, we will progressively unveil additional features for the Reedsy Book Editor. It is the result of a lot of research and web development work. The Reedsy Book Editor uses operational transformation technologies to allow multiple users to work on a book at the same time. It will allow authors to invite either a co-author or editor to work on their book and make edits together in real-time, which means you can forget about managing manuscript revisions via email; everything is stored securely on Reedsy’s servers. Authors will be able to use both the commenting and track-changes systems to work collaboratively.

The Reedsy Book Editor will fully integrate with our marketplace

The reason we wanted the Reedsy Book Editor to be collaborative was to ensure our authors never have to email different versions of their books when working with a Reedsy editor. Reedsy is now the world’s best place to find and collaborate with amazing book-industry talent.

Reedsy marketplace

Our friends at IngramSpark are also excited about the integration:

“What I like about the Reedsy platform is that it provides indie authors with an online marketplace to get many of the services they need to create a finished and polished book. The website is very intuitive and easy to use. This is definitely a service that will benefit IngramSpark authors and why we are happy to recommend.”
– Robin Cutler, Senior Manager for IngramSpark ©

We worked with world-class book interior designers

As of today, two beautiful book templates are available to choose from on our export page: one for fiction and one for non-fiction. We plan to add many more in the coming months based on the demand we get from our users (so do send us feedback!).

Here is an example of what you can do in a few seconds with the Reedsy Book Editor; click on the image to download an excerpt from Michael Doane’s book, The Crossing:

The Crossing

Once your book has been exported you can use it for digital distribution on the main ebookstores (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Apple iBooks, Kobo Writing Life, etc.) and for print-on-demand services (IngramSpark © for instance). A professionally formatted book for free to the delight of your readers? Yes, that’s the deal!

Oh and we forgot to mention: if you ever notice a typo in the book you published, you can make changes and re-upload your file in a few seconds, unlike the more tedious process detailed by Hugh Howey.

So, who is this writing tool for?

The Reedsy Book Editor offers a level of quality that makes it extremely useful to both self-publishing authors and publishers who want to create a perfectly formatted book. Those looking to have a more customized product can hire a book interior designer via the Reedsy marketplace; machines can’t do art yet!

I want to use the Reedsy Book Editor. Where do I find it?

Simply log in to your Reedsy account, create a new book and start writing!


We look forward to seeing how you’ll use the new Reedsy Book Editor. Send us your feedback!


– Matt (designer) and Emmanuel (visionary) of the Reedsy Book Editor, founders at Reedsy.
A press release is available here.

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  • Peter Roy Barlow

    While this is certainly an “innovation”, I also think this is also a bit of a stab in the back to those providers on your marketplace who offer the formatting and typesetting services.

    Furthermore, I think that this is all a bit disingenuous on Reedsy’s part as you established quite a vibrant marketplace for authors to get in touch with professionals, work was done by these professionals to the benefit of all (including Reesdy and Reedsy’s profile in the publishing space) and now you go and cut us out of two very important parts of the production process after we helped you establish your reputation in the first place.

    I suppose you don’t owe us anything and it’s is every person for themselves but it still sticks in my throat a bit.

    • This reminds me of the time when launched and there was massive outrage by graphic designers because it took away a great deal of business but clients were thrilled with the innovation. Yes this might sting for the professionals at first but as with all innovation the marketplace adjusts. In the grand scheme of things this is for the best for authors…and yes perhaps the owners/investors of Reedsy….but it will also improve the process with professionals as all projects will be centralized and thus make everything faster and easier. Let’s see how it goes.

      • Peter Roy Barlow

        I don’t see how there is an upside for professionals as the very nature of this is that it is self-service and so cuts the professional completely. At least providers are still involved in 99Designs.

        I think you have misunderstood how this new platform works.

        • As written in the piece, machines can’t do art. We are democratizing high-quality book production but authors looking for something more customized/unique/illustrated will work with a professional.

          • Peter Roy Barlow

            It still dilutes the market and, mark my words, authors will try and use the platform for books which need more professional attention. Given the choice of using a free tool and paying a professional, people will use the free tool 9 out of 10 times. It’s just human nature. A very sad day indeed for professionals on Reedsy.

          • As an author, I think you’re right. At the same time, if Reedsy hadn’t done it, someone else would have, such as Vellum. What if this brought more potential customers to your marketplace? What if you could find a way to add enough value such that an author would use their tool, sell some paperbacks and with the new income then think, hey I want something better? After which they might find you.

          • Peter Roy Barlow

            Lots of “what ifs”, George.

            All this does is further devalue the very subtle art of typesetting. I doubt that authors who used a free tool would turn around and suddenly be willing the pay money for something they can do for free.

            The big difference between Reedsy and Vellum is that Reedsy has its roots in the marketplace it created and I really feel betrayed by them for doing this! It makes no sense to me that they would do this and it feels like they are actively working against the professionals in the marketplace now.

        • You might be right that I misunderstood this new platform because I’m still checking it out. However, from what I think I know about it so far it seems as if any professional can create an account as a freelancer and still provide their services for hire so I don’t see how you are cut out of the loop. Yes, there will be some misguided authors who decide not to use professional services but their work will pay the price as the cream always rises to the top in the marketplace. Professionally edited/designed work is always clearly evident.

  • Paul Taylor

    Little innovation here TBH – Looks to be code for the main part with a small amount of free code from elsewhere.

    Shame, the marketplace is a neat idea, like on Book machine and Bite the book.

    • Peter Roy Barlow

      And they claim it took 6 months to code!

    • This is nothing like PressBooks: we are free, much more user-friendly (not a WordPress plugin) and our typesetting system is much more powerful.

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  • Keeli

    It’s definitely not an “exciting” day for Reedsy’s human, non-automated layout designers.

  • As an author and a professional proofreader, I’m excited about the potential of this tool with regard to design and conversion. However, one thing writers do need to consider is that Word is an absolutely wonderful interface for editing. It enables users to run powerful onboard tools (such as Find and Replace) and outstanding third-party add-ins (such as consistency- and reference-checking software), all of which complement the human eye and improve quality and efficiency. Certainly, I’ll be experimenting with the Editor, but I’ll be uploading text that’s already had a huge amount of work done to it in Word beforehand.

    I found self-designing and self-formatting in Word to be a good experience, and it offered me a great deal of flexibility, allowing me to implement styles that accord with publishing convention. If the Editor provides me with the same degre of control (in print books, for example, avoiding hyphen stacking, checking widows and orphans, controlling for recto and verso page-depth balance, being able to amend bad word breaks, etc.), I’ll happily consider using it. I do therefore wonder whether those authors who are most likely to try the Editor are those who would have self-designed anyway.

    The key will be for professional designers, especially those specialising in print, to market the added value they bring to the table with the human touch. I can see the Editor working very well indeed for ebooks, and for printed fiction to a degree, but there are certain publications that will always benefit from the skills of a pro typesetter.

  • Fiona Cameron

    I rather agree with those who have pointed out that this is a stab in the back for professional formatters! If I decide to use this tool, I’m another who would do most of my editing in Word beforehand (I actually do all of my writing up to almost-final draft in Scrivener, then compile to Word on the final lap – I know that Scrivener should give me the facility to compile in e-book format, but I’ve never managed to get a satisfactory end-product, and regard it as simply a brilliant writing-tool). Perhaps I’m not reading your web-page carefully enough, but I couldn’t find the following info: can Reedsy Book Editor be used on a Mac?

    • The Reedsy Book Editor is browser based, so it can definitely be used on a Mac. Also, you can write your book on Word, or Scrivener, and then use our Reedsy Book Editor to format it.

  • I’ve tried Word, yWrite, Google Docs and have now completed the first draft of my WIP using Scrivener. I’ve also painstakingly checked it chapter-by-chapter using the Scrivener version of ProWritingAid. Now you want me to move to the Reedsy Book Editor. Are you expecting me to copy-paste my whole book? What about existing formatting, e.g. italics; am I going to have to go through the whole book line-by-line to adopt the new HTML-style formats? What about future editing? Are Scrivener and ProWritingAid then out of the loop? I see the advantage of being able to write, format and share a new book from scratch, but don’t want to lose the powerful features of other apps. You still need to convince me.

    • Hello Vince,

      If you copy and paste your current book into the Reedsy Book Editor most of the formatting will be kept. Once your book has been exported, you can always come back, make changes and download your file again for free.

      Hope this helps!

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  • I noticed in the preview that the Reedsy logo was included in the final PDF, rather than the publisher logo (in my case it would be my indie publisher logo)… Is this part of the cost of typesetting for “free?” Thanks!

    • Nope, that’s something we will change soon so that you are able to customize it. The “typeset by Reedsy” will still be there, though, since that is true 🙂

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  • Janet Angelo IndieGo Publishin

    The worst part about this tool is that it is called a book editor. It is NOT a book editor. It is a book FORMATTER, or rather, a book formatting tool. Many inexperienced authors will see the word *editor* and possibly think this implies the actual developmental, line, and copy editing of book manuscripts, tasks that can only be done by an experienced human book editor, and only working with a Microsoft Word document. Louise Harnby is absolutely correct when she states something similar to this in her comment. As soon as I read her answer, I knew that she too is an experienced human editor who knows what she is talking about. Authors, you will never — and I do mean never — find any kind of software to replace the work and value of an experienced, talented, intuitive human editor.

    • Thanks for your comment, Janet. We have branded it the “Reedsy Book Editor” because it is, essentially, a text editor made for books. I’m sorry if this sounds confusing but I’m sure our landing page explains clearly enough that it is a writing and formatting tool.
      We are the first to extensively write and speak about the importance of writing with professional editors. This is the very reason why we built Reedsy: to help Reedsy connect with real professionals, and avoid all the ‘glorified beta-readers’ and outright scams out there. That said, it doesn’t mean that the actual collaborative process of “editing” (especially in developmental editing) cannot be improved. It can, and it should; and that is what the Reedsy Book Editor is there for as well.

  • David and Carol Harr

    As a writer who is working with an agent, I am more interested the editing aspects of this product.
    I am working with a co-author. Word and Scrivener are not at all friendly to more than one person working on a manuscript at the same time. This product might be what I am looking for, but there is one problem. My agent is going to want a Word document, not an epub.. Is there an easy path to do that?

    • The collaborative features aren’t fully ready yet, it’s going to take us a couple more months. We don’t have an export to Word planned but that might change in the future. Have you tried collaborating on Google Docs for now?