I'm looking for a medium or a type of live book that's somewhat like a wiki or a blog, but with linear order, like a book.

What I mean by this is, paper books and ebooks are arranged by the author so that reading from cover to cover gradually educates the reader in the a linear process that the author considers effective. I want that inherent order for the work I'm writing.

But I also want the huge benefits of digital platforms - the ability to update the text without releasing a whole new edition, and the ability for readers to comment and ask questions.

This seems to me like an obvious, powerful combination, but I'm having trouble actually finding books of this type, or a platform I can use. I've had no luck searching and suspect I'm just missing that key phrase that anyone using such a thing knows instantly, like "authoring framework" or something.

Does this kind of platform exist?

Update: I've found something just about spot on here based on DocBook markup but the platform has been written by the author. See how it reads more like a book than a wiki and readers can leave comments on each paragraph.

He makes the platform freely available which is great, but it would still be good to know if there's a name for this sort of live, commentable ebook format.

update 2: Amazon ebooks allow commenting and highlighting, which anyone with (the ebook and) a kindle or kindle app can turn on public comments and highlights (ln the settings) to view them.

  • Are you asking if anyone knows of a system like this? Are you looking to develop it? Are you generating text for it? This site is about writing and editing, and this seems to be more of a development statement than anything else. I'm putting this on hold for now, but ping a mod if you want to edit and reopen. Mar 20, 2014 at 22:39
  • There is nothing inherently preventing the use of wiki culture (and software) to provide a linear teaching "narrative". E.g., see Wikibooks. Pure wiki culture does not fit as well with a larger work with a unified vision; copy editing would generally not interfere with the vision, but adding content can break the coherence of the whole (e.g., using a better [in its local context] example may hinder tweaking the example for other sections, additional exercises may change emphasis or violate the desired proportions of difficulty).
    – user5232
    Mar 21, 2014 at 13:40
  • I'm wanting to use such a system. Thanks for pointing out Wikibooks Paul as I can see the linear teaching methodology there a lot better than many wikis I've seen. However I wouldn't be wanting readers to be able to edit, rather to make comments or raise questions that would allow me to answer and revise the work if necessary.
    – jontyc
    Mar 22, 2014 at 5:48
  • I really can't explain the need any better sorry Neil so I can only assume that such a system either isn't well known or doesn't yet exist.
    – jontyc
    Mar 22, 2014 at 5:52
  • Access control can be used to restrict access (e.g. this extension for mediawiki). Having discussion/talk pages be editable by anyone or by registered users might work for comments and questions (the edit history would prevent irreversible vandalization), but that is a bit kludgy. Using forum software for comments/questions (with each page or chapter having a link to a thread or room in the forum) would avoid the problem of a user editing another user's comment. Wiki software can be used just for convenient editing and history.
    – user5232
    Mar 22, 2014 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


Medium is a professional writing platform that allows readers to comment and offer feedback on individual paragraphs without disrupting reading order, before or after the work is published. It sounds like exactly what you're looking for.

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