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Who Needs a Publisher? Middle School Class Writes, Publishes An Anthology of Stories

Andrea Santilli’s 7th-grade science class has just done something that would have been impossible 20 years ago and difficult only 10 years ago. They’ve published a collection of stories about critters native to their home state, Florida.

Their teacher gathered the stories into a single volume and published it via Apple. The book is called Creatures, Plants and More! A Kid’s Guide to Northwest Florida, and it features photos, videos, and interactive content.

You can find the ebook in iTunes. Like most titles produced with iBooks Author, it requires an updated version of iBooks. It looks to be a fun read (I cannot get it to open), but there’s a bigger picture here.

While some might focus on the interactive features, or the embedded video, I’m more interested in the authors. This is not the first time that a class full of kids collaborated to produce a book; vanity presses have supported such endeavors for decades now. I know of one such title, and it was created by my brother’s class in the mid 1990s.

I was all set to declare that this is nothing new and it was really only a slight difference in what came before. But as I looked into this I realized this title represents a major but subtle shift in the world. The book my brother contributed to was never read by anyone outside of our immediate family, and in fact it was never available for anyone to buy.

This one is available for all, and that is the difference.

I have said in the past that there was a whole new publishing industry growing right under your nose. Many people thought my post was a defense of Amazon, which tells me that they missed the point entirely.

This class, which is made up of kids who had never published anything before (most of them anyway), is now part of the publishing industry. And I mean exactly that. They are an example of the future of publishing.

Everyone is a publisher now, and the world is a better place for it.


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