For the first of a number of reviews of cloud publishing resources I have selected what must be the simplest – Scriffon. It is a cloud publishing resource in the sense that it allows readers to access text without downloading. Here, though, ‘publishing’ is used in the most basic sense, meaning simply ‘to make public’. Given that the site offers no way to monetise the provision of content – pieces are published under a creative commons licence – and functionality is very limited, the site is likely in practice to attract self-publishers.
An attraction of the site for such producers is that it the simple design aids readability. The lack of features keeps the interface free from distraction. And the short column width makes the text easy to read.
Commercial publishers are unlikely to have much used for the site (I’m sure it isn’t aimed at them). That said, if Scriffon establishes itself it may develop a role as a shop window for taster pieces (including samples for rights deals, if the site’s encouragement of crowd-sourced translation were to prove popular),
More likely, Scriffon may prove useful for publishers’ authors, as a vehicle for experimentation: from one account, writers can publish under a number of pseudonyms; they can publish passages to see gauge response (seeing which links to pieces get retweeted and so on); and they can prototype pieces by revising pieces in response to any feedback they receive via other vehicles, such as Facebook.
Most likely, though, Scriffon’s place in the ecology of cloud publishing is as a simple, unpretentious, resource that makes it easy for writers of plain text to present their work to the public in an attractive design. It’s about as straightforward as cloud publishing could get.