Pressbooks is an online publishing platform that creates digital books, which are accessible through the web. Plymouth State University faculty and students have collaborated on several of these “pressbooks” to develop free and open content that is tailored to their course. You can use Pressbooks to publish textbooks, scholarly monographs, syllabi, fiction and non-fiction books, white papers, and more in multiple formats including:
- MOBI (for Kindle ebooks)
- EPUB (for all other ebookstores)
- designed PDF (for print-on-demand and digital distribution)
Developing and publishing a pressbook requires no coding, graphic design, or publishing experience. The Pressbooks platform, based on WordPress, is designed to make authoring a book simple. All that is needed is the base text for the book. Once the written content is developed, Pressbooks’ prefabricated appearance options create a product that is neatly packaged and ready to use.
Unlike a traditional textbook or an “ebook”, a pressbook lives on the web. This means that authors can refine, remix, and adapt the book to fit the needs of their course. With this in mind, Plymouth State has developed a Creative Commons guide on the options for Creative Commons licensing you will find in Pressbooks. With a pressbook, there is no need to worry that content will become stale or irrelevant over time. What remains relevant can stay, while content that shifts out of focus can be removed or replaced with emerging ideas and topics.
One way that Pressbooks is being used at Plymouth State University is to highlight student works, and use them as supplementary material to a pressbook’s main content. Having students participate in the development of a pressbook adds value and meaning to assignments, as these works have an audience – something that many Moodle-submitted assignments lack.
Because Pressbooks is freely accessible and has the ability to be openly licensed, the content created in the book can extend beyond the singular classroom. Courses can utilize a pressbook developed in a different class and, if need be, remix or add to it in their own version of the book. A pressbook can even extend outside of the individual institution and be used by other universities across the country.
Pressbooks is used by educational institutions around the world as well as authors and publishers.
For more information about Pressbooks, see here.