It’s time for us to lift the curtain on some major changes here at Pressbooks! We’ve spent a lot of time over the last month doing some much-needed maintenance across the platform, including theme improvements and changes to the user experience for institutions using single-sign on technology. These past weeks also included important work on
My talk was: “Sausage & Laws, or In the trenches building print books & ebooks using HTML + CSS.” I started with an introduction of some of the things I think are interesting about PressBooks (webby books, open source, the ease of making an API for books), and note that my enthusiasm for these things have not been matched by the market of publishers, authors and readers.
Lucky for us, the core of what we do, single source production of typeset PDFs, EPUBs & MOBIs, is exciting for publishers and authors.
In my talk, I give some examples of the power of a CSS-based approach to designing for print (!), and the kinds of outputs we are doing with PressBooks.
Finally I talk about the struggle to get new, powerful book production technologies to meet certain typographical conventions, for instance, the big sticking point is: bottom-balancing. There are ways around this with tools like PressBooks, but there is a question to be asked, about the value of these conventions going forward. How much we gain from them, and how much they hamper our ability — as an industry, as lovers of the book — to adapt to a new and ever-changing world.
You can find my slide deck below, and a video of my presentation below that.