Today is the day: We’re opening PressBooks – a simple, online book production tool – to the public. PressBooks is an easy, but powerful tool that helps publishers and authors make ePubs, typeset PDFs, as well as other XML formats. It also makes a web version of all books — which can be private (for production only), or public (free or behind a paywall). It is, we believe, the best digital publishing solution for anyone publishing a (mostly text-based) book. Here is a slideshow intro to PressBooks.
PressBooks is built on top of WordPress — the open source blogging engine that powers 15% of the world’s top 1 million websites.
Working with Publishers and Authors
We’ve spend the last six months working with authors and publishers, refining PressBooks, and getting the core of it working as it should: outputting a beautiful and clean epub and well-designed, typeset PDFs. We’re secretly most excited about the “web versions” of books – but don’t worry if that makes you nervous, you can do what you like with PressBooks, we won’t force anything. PressBooks is still in beta, with improvements in the works — but it’s now solid enough for professional production of ebooks.
“Real” Publishing with PressBooks
We’ve been through the entire publishing process on PressBooks with O’Reilly Media, releasing Part 1 of “Book: a Futurist’s Manifesto,” which we put together, edited and published, as we were putting together, building and bug-fixing PressBooks (a challenge).
As Joe Wikert, publisher at O’Reilly said: “We were really excited about testing out a new, easy-to-use platform for making books.” For us, it was exciting to see that what we were doing really does makes sense from the publishing side.
Though we’d not yet opened PressBooks, Harvard Business Review Press produced and published an ebook — Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, by Heidi Grant Halvorson — using PressBooks. Quoth Ania Wieckowski, Managing Editor, Harvard Business Review Press: “PressBooks played a key part in the production process for our first ‘HBR single,’ ‘Nine Things Successful People Do Differently’ by Heidi Grant Halvorson. It’s a helpful tool with powerful potential to shift how we think about book production.”
In addition to O’Reilly & HBR, we’ve had wonderful feedback from numerous publishers, including: Columbia Business School Publishing, Augsburg Fortress, Invisible Publishing, and the the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School, among many others.
This is, we hope, just the beginning. The base function. The core. On top of which we can start building, connecting, improving, and dreaming up what “book production” should mean (or, some of it anyway) in 2012 and beyond.
If you have questions, please send me a note:
or give me a call: +1.514.464.2047
PressBooks Demo Deck