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Issuu launches collaborative e-publishing layout tool

spotlightWe’ve covered digital magazine service Issuu a few times. The latest news about the service is that it’s launched a new digital collaboration platform, called Collaborate.

The general idea seems to be that it’s like Google Docs on steroids, or a collaborative version of a writing and layout tool like Indesign. Instead of simply collaborating on a document, you set up your layout (or import it from Indesign) and then you and other users can import text, pictures, and other content. Once you’re done, you can publish it via Issuu’s publishing platform or export it as a PDF. The collaboration platform requires a subscription to Issuu’s Optimum plan, and it works on both the desktop and tablets.

This is certainly an intriguing development. It’s more suited to e-magazines than e-books, but all the same, it’s certainly a step beyond simple document collaboration tools like Google Docs. Personally, though, I wish there was a collaborative version of Scrivener—I don’t need layout in my writing, but I could use access to its document organization capabilities at the same time as I work together online with friends. It would also be nice to have access to a tool you didn’t have to pay a subscription fee to use.

Still, this could be the first of many more fully-featured collaboration tools. If one company has the idea, it isn’t hard for another company to have a similar one. It will be interesting to see if any competitors crop up.

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