My good friend Nicholas Roots discovered this on a podcast for me, and I had a quick look into the service. It's a beautiful and very glossy website, and an interesting service. You can write and prepare your work, while your fans can read your in-progress work. When you're done, you can publish the ebook directly. The site describes it as follows:
You can drop in a document.
If you've already written a book, just drop the document into Tablo and watch the magic happen.
Preview the results & edit in the cloud. You'll be a published author in seconds!
Or you can write in the cloud.
With a clean, focused writing environment, chapter control, autosaving & plenty of sharing features,
you'll love creating your book with Tablo. It's a literally awesome place to write (get it?).
Preview in the browser, download to your device.
Spin up a perfect preview of your eBook with a click, or download ePub files for a more thorough test.
If you know how to write (and you probably do), you can create gorgeous eBooks for the iPad, Kindle and more.
Publish globally in seconds.
This is the cool part. Click a button and your books will be published on Amazon and the iBooks Store.
Tablo assigns ISBNs, produce your files and distributes your books globally. It's as easy as publishing a blog post.
But I had a look at the plans, and maybe I'm missing something, but this does not seem sustainable to me.
The publishing plans range from $8/mth (paid annually) to $30/mth. At $8/mth (in perpetuity) you can publish a single book (including free ISBN) to various online bookstores, and keep all the royalties.
But... but when you stop your subscription those books are suspended from the stores. With a cap of 1 book publishable in total at the lowest plan, and 10 at the highest (contact them for custom plans that support more books), it seems like your subscription fee would rapidly eat up any royalties, and totally kill the 'long tail' effect of having a broad catalogue for fans to purchase.
What this kind of price pressure produces is a need to sell eBooks at more than $5 a pop, which I would call the 'danger zone of customer detachment'. ie. A price range where you lose the casual interest of readers, which impacts the discovery and sharing of your work.
I can't comment as to whether the social aspect of the site will make up for this cost, but I just don't know how it could. Perhaps someone has experience with Tablo, or someone can clarify it for me.
In any case, check it out here. A free account can't hurt, and you can always try to use it to build up a fan following which might translate into sales, as long as you publish elsewhere: https://tablo.io/