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
“Where are the snows of yesteryear?” Here, apparently, tumbling down on PressBooks worldwide headquarters in Montreal. Happy December to all, happy holidays, and I hope all your writing and publishing projects are going well.
Here’s the news this month:
- New themes: Morrison, Lewis
- New Feature: MS Word (docx) import
- Open source & EPUB3: Can you help?
- Catalog feature … to le max
- Internationalization: can you help?
- On the web
1. New themes: Morrison, Lewis
A couple of new themes for you this month, both of which are optimized for print-on-demand as well as ebook (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and others). The new themes are:
- Morrison: a variation on the popular Dillard theme, Morrison is built for literary fiction, romance, and memoir.
- Lewis: Lewis is a more conservative theme, designed for serious nonfiction and fiction alike.
You can log in to PressBooks right now and export your books using these new themes to see what they look like.
And, if you have need of a particular kind of theme that you don’t see in PressBooks, please contact us.
NOTE: We have tested all of these themes extensively, in PDF and EPUB & MOBI, but if you see any problems with any of them (or any of our themes), please send us an email.
2. New feature: MS Word (docx) import
Thanks once again to Brad Payne of BC Campus for his efforts contributing to the PressBooks open source project, we now have Word (docx) import. Be warned, you must prepare your document properly, and once you have imported, you should always check the markup & make sure no chapters got lost along the way… but we’ve tested extensively and it works. With the occasional hiccup.
See here for: How to import from Word into PressBooks.
3. Open source / EPUB3: Can you help?
In the new year, we are planning a code sprint and a bit more nuturing of our open source community. The focus is to get PressBooks ebook exports EPUB3-compliant, starting with barebones requirements, and building out from there. EPUB3 has a host of features that we want to support including:
- audio & video in ebook exports
- MathML support
- better accessibility
If you are interested in helping us build the first open source EPUB3 authoring tool (we think?), either as a coder, a tester, a cheerleader, or as an institutional backer, please get in touch with me directly: email@example.com
4. Catalog feature … to le max
One of our coolest, and most-ignored features is the Publisher Catalog feature of PressBooks. While we’ve seen few authors or publishers really embrace it, it’s great to see France/Quebec-based publisher Numeriklivres is using PressBooks to build and promote their catalog, and make it easy for anyone to read samples of their books, from whatever device they happen to be using: computer, smartphone or tablet.
Check out Numeriklivres great catalog (on PressBooks) … and, read some samples, then buy some books!
5. Internationalization: Can you help translate?
Currently PressBooks is available in English, Chinese, Estonian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazilian), and Spanish. But, unfortunately, the updates to the translations are not up-to-date with the latest PressBooks version, and there are some errors.
We’ve had lots of requests lately for better translations, and perhaps you would like to help? We’re planning in the new year to get set up properly on a translation platform which will make this much easier.
If you’d like to help, please let me know.
6. On the web
Author and PressBooks user Carla King has a post up at the website How to Blog a Book, about using PressBooks to get blog content into book form: How to Use Pressbooks to Go Blog-to-Book (Part 1). Thanks for the nice write-up, Carla!
That’s all for now!
That’s it from snowy PressBooks land. We’re always happy to hear from you….
Best, Hugh & the PressBooks team.