New Features

Pressbooks Major Release Scheduled Feb. 28

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As we mentioned last month, we’ve been working hard on some improvements to Pressbooks. The major release is scheduled for later this month. Here’s a heads up of the changes that are on the way.

Most of the improvements are under the hood. However, there are a few big changes we would like to call to your attention.

First, a new look and feel is available for the network home page and catalog. The new theme is highly customizable, and you can add your own branding and colors. This branding will be applied to not just the network homepage and catalog, but to the book homepage and reading interface for all the books on the network! There is also a new standalone catalog page that is sortable and filterable, for improved discovery.

If you’d like to apply this new look to your network, please get in touch at! We will arrange for it to be enabled on your network and help you set it up.

We’ve also given the webbook a much-needed makeover, with some added functionality. All books, existing and new, will receive a new webbook theme that has been crafted with academic reading in mind. A wider book layout and better navigation are just some of the enhancements that the new theme enables. And it’s pretty! A big thank you to Ryerson University for supporting the development of both this and the new network theme.

We are thoroughly testing the new webbook theme prior to its release and these improvements should not cause any issues with your existing books. But, if anything does come up, let us know right away at

NOTE ABOUT CUSTOM CSS THEME: The new webbook theme will roll out to all new and existing webbooks on release day. That means, as we mentioned in an email several weeks ago, custom changes entered using the old Custom CSS theme will no longer be applied to the webbook after Feb. 27. To retain any changes, you will need to migrate them to the new Custom Styles option before this date. Here’s how.

As a reminder, the Galbraith, Goodison, and Luther themes will be retiring on the same day as the new release (their retirement was originally slated for Jan 31st, but was postponed).

In their place, we’ll soon be releasing two new themes, McLuhan (which will be the new default theme for all new books) and Jacobs. These two themes both offer expanded theme options, and both are designed with textbooks in mind. Their development has been generously funded by eCampus Ontario.

Other changes include:

  • Save Button: We heard your pleas for a clearer way to save your chapters. It’s here! (In the past, the “save” button was named Update, Publish, or other variations based on the status of your post.) Note that when you create a new chapter, front or back matter section, you will first see a “Create” button, but subsequent changes can be saved by clicking on the new “Save” button.
  • Contributor Management: We’ve added a centralized contributor management tool where you can add contributors who can then be reused throughout your book as authors, editors, translators, reviewers, illustrators, and generic contributors.
  • Organize Page Improvements: We’ve revamped the Organize page, improving the display on mobile devices, and improving accessibility for keyboard navigation and screen reader users.
  • Chapter Importing: Now, you can import individual chapters from public, openly licensed Pressbooks webbooks using the Import tool. All you need to drop is drop in the URL to a book, begin the import process, then select the chapters you wish to add to your book. (Content that is private, All Rights Reserved or that carries any of the Creative Commons Non-Derivative licenses cannot be imported.)
  • Content Visibility: We’ve made it more intuitive to manage the visibility of your content across web and exports. Now you can simply designate content visibility in web and exports on both the Organize page and the edit screen for individual front matter, chapters and back matter.
  • Import Files from URL: You can now import supported file formats hosted on remote (web based) sources via URL. If you have files hosted elsewhere (with the right permissions), you no longer need to download and upload files, but can import them directly with just the URL.
  • Ebook Start Point: We’ve moved the ebook start point setting to the ebook Theme Options page to ensure that only one front matter, chapter, or back matter can be set as the ebook start point. (Note that Pressbooks tries to enforce the ebook start point you select. However, ereader devices may still override the start point you designate.)
  • Language Support Changes: We’ve renamed the Language Support section in Theme Options to Language & Script Support to better reflect its functionality; we’ve also re-labelled Hindi support to Devanagari, to clarify that the Devanagari script supports Hindi, Sanskrit, and over 120 other languages.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or problems navigating the new features. You can contact us at