Have you reached the point in your teaching where it would be easier to present course resources and instructional narrative in your own textbook? PressBooks is a cloud-based authoring system where you can assemble resources and present them in your own story, then publish them into a e-book format for students to use in your course, and beyond.
PressBooks can also import existing OER e-books into your account so that you edit them for your own needs.
What is Pressbooks? Pressbooks.com is a system based on the WordPress platform. You can create e-book chapters the same way you create posts in a blog, including front matter (introduction, foreword, etc.) and back matter (appendix, references, etc.). When all of your authoring is done, click one button to export e-book compatible files to place in your course for your students.
Why would you need Pressbooks? Pressbooks makes the process of assembling instructional content into an e-book form as simple as can be, without needing HTML skills or conversion software to create multiple e-book file types. Since it is cloud-based, you can edit content and regenerate e-book files anywhere you have Internet access. From a pedagogical perspective, creating your own e-book enables you to create an unfolding narrative of the instructional content the way it works best for you and your course.
How are faculty using Pressbooks? Some faculty create their own textbook instead of piling up lots of resources in their online course. Others take existing OER textbooks, convert them into PressBooks projects, and then edit them according to their needs.
The Pressbooks Recipe
- Gather your material and organize it into chapters.
- Go to Pressbooks.com [ https://pressbooks.com/ ]. Register for a new account. Review the features in their “For Authors” page.
- Once you have established an account, check out the User’s Guide, or contact your institution’s ID Team for orientation and assistance in getting started.
- Under “My Catalog” add a new book. Complete the new book form, but do not make it public at this point. Complete the Book Info section including which Keywords should be assigned to it. If you are doing this as an OER project, you may have keywords that are required to be assigned, such as: Granite State College
- Click on the Text menu item to see the list of chapters in your template. Click on one of them and start up!
- Think about an ongoing revision/updating plan.
- Consider bringing in a reviewer.
Pressbooks offers several levels of user accounts starting with the free version. The free version has a limit to the amount of content (5 MB) in your e-book, but for a nominal upgrade price, it can be increased to 25 MB.
There are several export options for generating e-book files. The four main file formats are:
- EPUB – For most e-book readers
- MOBI – For Kindle e-book readers
- PDF – For regular computer use
- PDF-Print – For printing a paper version of the textbook
Ask for assistance in determining which files to place in your course.
Here are some resources for writing and publishing your e-book:
- Writing: Authoring Open Textbooks
- Attributing: If you are you incorporating Creative Commons licensed materials, see Best Pactices for Attribution.
- Publishing: Opentextbooks Library
Considerations to ask about: Since the content in Pressbooks is Web-based and the e-books it generates are based on HTML, it is safe to assume that a person with an access-enabled browser or e-book reader would be able to access content in Pressbooks’ Web content or e-books, but be sure to do a test on your own with an expert.
Pressbooks has a free version, but it is very limited. Consider that you may need to upgrade your account to accommodate your content.
From the teaching kitchen of Steve Covello, Granite State College (USNH)