New Themes for Textbooks & More for Pressbooks EDU Enterprise Networks

NOTE: This post is specific to Pressbooks EDU enterprise networks. If you are interested in changes, you can find those in this post

Happy New Year! Here’s a sneak preview of some improvements coming to Pressbooks soon.

New Themes, Webbook, Home Page & Catalog Page

Later this month, we’ll be introducing two new themes specifically designed for textbooks: Jacobs & McLuhan. These new themes are part of work we are doing with eCampus Ontario, to improve Pressbooks for EDU users.

Around the same time, the web view of Pressbooks books will be getting a much-needed makeover. A refreshed network home page and more powerful catalog page will also be available to Pressbooks EDU networks that want the new look. This work was done as part of our work with Ryerson University, part of an eCampusOntario-funded project: Open Publishing Infrastructure for Ontario Post-Secondary Educators, Learners.

In addition, we continue to convert our themes to a new structure that supports much more customization (such as PDF page margins and font size). Currently Clarke and Asimov support this new structure, and more themes will have this capability soon.

In the meantime, we’ll be hiding a handful of less-used themes for new books so that we can concentrate on improving those that get the most use going forward. The retiring themes are:

    • Galbraith
    • Goodison
  • Luther

We will also be retiring Dillard, but leaving Dillard Plain. These themes are identical aside from a glyph in Dillard, which will be reintroduced as a theme option in future.

In saying goodbye to these themes, we will be welcoming three new additions, the first two of which already support the new theme options:

      • McLuhan (replacing Luther as the default theme for new books)
      • Jacobs
    • Lewis

Existing books with retiring themes will not be affected by the change. It will apply to new books only.

Note that if a user wants to apply a soon-to-retire theme on future books, they can still create new book shells and apply that theme to them between now and Jan. 31.

Theme lock

Once again, any existing book will retain its theme, even if it’s being retired, for as long as a user wants to keep it, until / unless they change their theme. And, as we move forward with converting our existing themes, we’ll be testing every step of the way to ensure that existing books are only improved by our changes, not disrupted.

However, we know that reprinting existing books can require sticking to a strict page count. Those concerned about this may want to apply the theme lock feature to their book, which “locks” the theme to the current version, meaning the theme options are restricted (until the theme is unlocked) and the theme won’t be updated when we roll out our improvements. It’s not necessary to apply theme lock to keep a retiring theme on your book, but you might want to apply this feature if you’re done with formatting and want to keep your book exactly as is.

To apply the theme lock feature, follow these steps:

    1. Go to Settings → Export
    1. Check the box that says “Lock your theme at its current version.”
  1. Save your changes.

Special note to users with Custom Webbook CSS

Custom changes entered using the old Custom CSS theme will no longer be applied to the webbook after Jan. 31. Instead, the web book will be displayed in the new McLuhan theme, without any customisations. To retain any changes, you will need to migrate them to the new Custom Styles option. Here’s how.

These are just a few of the improvements that are coming in January. Stay tuned! And please let us know at if you have any questions.

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