best pressbooks splog dispute email ever: “I will be using this pressbooks account to allow 5th grade students to create poetry ebooks.”
— PressBooks (@pressbooks) April 18, 2013
Category Archives: On the Web
From a user: “I will be using this pressbooks account to allow 5th grade students to create poetry ebooks.”
It’s nice when users of PressBooks do things like this: make a video tutorial for using PressBooks! Mat McLeod of BookMoxy.com, a site that “offers free tutorials and articles showing step by step how to get your manuscript published on your own using various methods,” did just that. Here it is:
It’s a very exciting thing when people we’ve never met start doing presentations about PressBooks at conferences … with no incentive other than that they are happy with their experience with PressBooks, and want to share that with other people.
And here is a video of the event:
The PressBooks open source plugin for WordPress has moved to GitHub. You can find us here: https://github.com/pressbooks.
When we launched the open source version of the PressBooks WordPress Plugin in February, we put the code up on Google Code, and were using an SVN repository. We did this for a few reasons: while we were excited about releasing the code to the public, we wanted to keep control of things early on and get into active conversations with other developers working with the code. SVN is also repo tool of choice for WordPress, so it seemed to make sense.
But of course GitHub lowers the friction for developers who want to work with open source code, and now we want to make working with PressBooks easier.
PressBooks is, we believe, the best content management system (CMS) for books — a single source system that will output your books in MOBI, EPUB, PDF, and web. Our new CSS editor means customizing outputs for PDF, EPUB/MOBI and web is now as easy as pie (if you have CSS chops). PressBooks is only going to get more powerful as more developers start improving it and customizing it for their needs.
So: Go on! Visit our GitHub page… and start forking!
The book has stayed pretty much the same for over 500 years: a bunch of paper pages between covers. It’s been both finite and easily grasped. But our digitally-connected world is forcing us to re-imagine what books could be.
It has been one busy month at PressBooks worldwide HQ, here’s a quick summary:
1. PressBooks is now open source
The big news: we released the PressBooks plugin as free software. This won’t have any impact on PressBooks.com users, but you can read here for more info.
2. New features and improvements
We have a handful of new features/improvements (as well as tons of bug fixes you won’t notice). I’m missing a bunch, but here are some of them:
- New PDF Options: We’ve added some new page sizes, and the ability to add crop-marks.
- Word Footnotes: if you are copying Word files with Word-formatted footnotes into PressBooks, there is now a little toolbar button (it looks like a Window!) … that will convert to PressBooks footnote format.
- EPUB/Mobi Validation: we are validating all outputs now, if you would like to receive validation error notices on your outputs, go to: Settings –> Advanced –> Email me validation reports: “Yes. Send the logs.”
- Internal Links: should work now, so if you add a link in your book which is “/chapter/chapter-name” … the internal links should be parsed correctly in ebooks, the web, as well as PDF.
- Chinese users?: contact us if you would like to try out our new experimental “PressBooks in Chinese” feature.
3. In the press, around the web
We got some nice write-ups here and there recently:
- Techcrunch: PressBooks Goes Open Source To Let Authors Create Book Sites In Seconds
- Pando Daily: Indie book publishing platform PressBooks goes open source, embraces print
- Chris Brogan (podcast): Publish Your Own Ebook with Hugh McGuire of Pressbooks
- About.com: Write Your Next Novel with PressBooks
4. Here’s a book indie authors should read
PressBooks user Evo Terra just published this, which I read and liked, and you might like it too: “Writing Awesome Sales Copy (A Modern Indie Author’s Guide)”
That’s it for now.
Please get in touch if you have questions, kudos, complaints or suggestions.
We recently got two lovely reviews of PressBooks from a couple of different kinds of users:
Moultie Creek Gazette, a blog which focuses on the writing of local and family histories, and which has written about PressBooks before, has a nice run-down of how PressBooks can be used to make local history and family history books. It’s a nice how-to, explaining the process step-by-step. Summary:
PressBooks is a great platform for building a writing co-op where multiple family history writers build their individual book projects and support each other with review and copyediting support. Once the book is finished and published, your PressBooks project site can become a preview site providing links to your book pages at the booksellers where you book is available. [read more at Moultie Creek...]
Writer Shannon Thomas writes another review, with a title that made us happy indeed: Free Service that Makes Authors’ Dreams Come True. Shannon was making a print book to go to Amazon’s Createspace. And here’s what he had to say:
Assuming the paperback format works as well as I expect, I can’t identify any major drawbacks to this service. At the moment, the available formats are somewhat limited. There are only three basic font/page choices, and not all industry standard paperback dimensions are supported. However, additional formats are being developed, and the three available formats look great. [read more at HereticScribe...]
From the Pando Daily: What does an open-source book publishing platform look like? We’re about to find out
What both the New York Times and PressBooks are showing is that our understanding of what constitutes an ebook is only in its infancy. If an open-source approach can, Firefox-like, push innovation in publishing further, our current conception of what an ebook is could fast become outdated.
We are delighted to announce that AskMen, the No. 1 men’s lifestyle magazine online, has launched an ebook publishing program with the PressBooks Publisher platform — which provides a public-facing book catalog/website, along with ebook book production.
When we got started with PressBooks, one thing that excited us most was the idea of new book publishers (not just authors) who would emerge as the (mechanical) cost of producing and distributing books goes to zero.
So, I was thrilled when Emma McKay, Managing Editor at AskMen contacted us about helping her get a new ebook program off the ground. She had some existing content, as well as a pool of writers with stories that needed to get out.
AskMen Likes PressBooks
After playing with a number of tools out there, Emma picked PressBooks.
I asked Emma what she liked about PressBooks, compared with the other tools she tested, and she answered: “PressBooks is straightforward and intuitive, and the ebooks look great on all the devices we tested on.” Which we’re happy about, since making a simple tool with beautiful outputs is what we wanted to do.
AskMen did two books with us to test the waters, and in October, decided on a bigger project: they planned to get 7 books out the door before the end of the year.
AskMen on PressBooks Publisher
Two-and-a-half months is too quick to do that, I told Emma, but we set up Askmen with a PressBooks Publisher platform (website, book catalog, and ebook production), and thought, “Ha. Good luck meeting those crazy publishing deadlines, Emma!”
Well, Emma and her team at AskMen did meet the deadline: 7 books, live on a PressBooks Publisher site, and out in ebook retailers (through PressBooks distribution partner, INscribe Digital). All in less than 3 months. It’s fantastic.
AskMen’s first collection is an exploratory group of books, with a mix of titles ranging from extreme adventure travel (Pakistan Chronicles, by Adam Hodge, a man’s journey through the real Pakistan), psychology (One Hell of a Time, by Michael S. McKenna, a look at the impulses that make us overindulge), and the laddish (Understanding F1, by Fraser Masefield, which gives an overview of Formula 1 racing).
We’re going to see a lot more of this, publishers who are working by a whole different set of rules than traditional book publishers are used to. Want to price at $1.99 or $4.99? Let’s try it. Seven books, from start-to-finish, including a new website and production tool in 3 months? Let’s do it.
With tools like PressBooks, publishers have flexibility, control, and speed – and they will start using it more and more.
New Models: AskMen Books and The Rogue Reader
AskMen joins fellow ebook “upstart” Jason Ashlock, whose Movable Type Management partnered with PressBooks in September to launch crime publisher, The Rogue Reader, also running on a PressBooks Publisher platform.
Emma says she immediately thought about using the PressBooks Publisher platform once she saw The Rogue Reader. “I love that PressBooks Publisher builds your online catalog for you, as well as creating the books. It means we can concentrate on the books themselves, rather than building websites and messing around with formatting.”
The Rogue Reader has now put out four novels: Under the Dixie Moon and Under the Carib Sun (by Ro Cuzon), Dog Hills and Sistine (by Michael Hogan). They’ve released a number of shorts, and just published Dreaming of a Noir Christmas, with contributions from Cuzon and Hogan, as well as new Rogue authors Edward Weinman Don Rearden.
Flexibility and New Publishers
Askmen and Rogue are two great examples of publishing entities emerging to embrace the flexibility that PressBooks and tools like it provide. We’ve seen other, perhaps more high-profile announcements recently, notably the NYTimes ebook program with Vook.
We will see more. Many more.
Authors will publish many more books themselves.
New publishers will emerge, publishers born of digital, who will look at this whole business differently.
Things are about to get very interesting in the world of books.