Don’t Touch My Sweeble

by admin on March 25, 2009

Hah, hah, that's my attempt at a feeble joke. But seriously, Sweeble?? Where do these internet start-up companies get these ideas for name? I mean, Google is a cool name. Netscape was cool. Hulu, Joost, um, okay. But Sweeble? I mean, I could go home  and my wife will say what did you do today and I will say "I looked at Sweeble" and then she will slap me. Whatever.

So Sweeble, which is in beta (Of course it's in beta. Ever since Google put forward the brilliant concept of staying in beta forever, all groovy internet start-up are proud to advertise that they are in beta), offers an online desktop publisher which allows a user to publish both online and to print.

You can create a newsletter using on online templates and then publish to the website and of course they offer a handy way to print your copy offline through their store. One interesting feature they hope to offer in the future is the ability to match up an user's content with potential advertisers.

What do I think of it? Well, in my opinion, they've got the right idea. They are trying to get the content, then monetize the content. That's how you do it, I think every printer should be working on that. But when poking around the website, it looks like Sweeble has got aways to go before they start to become serious competitors. You can only enter content through their online pubisher widget. You can only do CMYK printing. You can only order prints from their local (British) printer who is anonymous. They are still trying to build a database of advertisers who will subsidize the content creators. So whether Sweedle has the legs to keep going is an open question.

But the idea is good, and even if they fail, someone will pick it up and give it a try. Then one day, they will start eating into your business. Think about it.


Dave K March 27, 2009 at 10:45 am

Recently had need to create a small harcover book so tried some self-publishing sites. In the end, could only find that would let me upload a PDF, order two books and pay for two books. Every one else wants to sell a “package” of editing, promotion, preflight, formating, design, etc. for $xxx’s or $y,yyy’s.

Time for an exposé!

admin March 29, 2009 at 9:50 pm

So many companies to investigate, so little time.

Really, some of these companies that try to sell printing are so obviously run by people who have never even been in the same room as a sheetfed.

Oh well. One day there will be a company that gets it all right, from the web front end right to bindery. And that company will make a lot of money.

Sue April 8, 2009 at 3:12 am

Hi. First, thanks for the review. I think you liked what I’m doing with sweeble (hard to tell!) and the points you make about how far we’ve got to go are good ones.
Just a couple of things in reply.
Where did the name come from? As I remember, it came from the wrong end of a bottle of whisky after a bad day in my former job (newspapers, I’ve even been in the same room as hot metal….)
That newspaper background lies behnd the content widget and the cmyk set-up – I designed sweeble based on the dual print/web publishing systems I’d worked with.
The pdf/cmyk output is down to what we could build to launch with, given that there’s no investor money behind sweeble’s development, just our personal savings and unpaid time.
Clearly I’m hoping we can build enough of a customer base to be able to both expand the idea beyond the UK and expand the range and quality of print.
But actually I’m also doing it because I believe that print should be as easy as blogging. I want sweeble to make it as easy for groups, communities, individuals to share their news in print as online (and at least be able to cover their print costs).
Anyway, happy to answer any other questions about sweeble – and more than happy to get feedback!

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