Update: PressBooks adds new features, pricing and distribution plans


A few weeks ago, I reviewed PressBooks, one of a new breed of online ebook production tools.  PressBooks founder Hugh McGuire just announced a handful of updates and some planned changes to the PressBooks business model. Together, they represent a significant improvement to the PressBooks offering so it’s worth recording them here. I’ve run the PressBooks announcement below.


PressBooks’ online e-reader has been improved

Among the more significant changes are:

  • Distribution. Introduction of a (paid) distribution service to the major ebookstores including Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Nook. The distribution service is optional but will be a welcome addition for many publishers. This is announced but not yet available.
  • Paid pricing tiers. Currently the service is completely free but PressBooks plans shortly to restrict free accounts to five ebooks  and to charge for larger lists in 20, 50 and 200 book tiers. While some might not see this as an ‘improvement’, the plan retains a generous free level and is a step towards making the service sustainable.
  • WordPress import improvements. The ability to produce ebooks directly from WordPress blogs is one of PressBooks’ unique features. (PressBooks is built on a WordPress foundation). The new version adds several important refinements to this process.

There are several other improvements, including to the online ebook reader. Here’s the full announcement.

Dear PressBookers,

Happy August to you all. Here are some quick announcements from PressBooks Worldwide Headquarters, including the following:

1. New front page
2. New webbook / readview designs
3. Pricing announced
4. Distribution (to Kindle, Nook, iBooks etc)
5. Import from WordPress
6. Improved CSS
7. Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto Part 3 – unofficial launch

1. New front page
We’ve got a nice new front page design, hope you like it! Check it out, comments and feedback are always welcome.

2. New Readview designs
We have a new webbook/readview designs for the web versions of your books — hope you like. They look lovely on old fashioned computers, smartphones and tablets. If you really want to go back to the old design, let us know.

3. Pricing
We’ve announced some pricing, though we haven’t quite implemented the payment mechanisms yet. It’s “coming soon,” but take a look and tell us what you think: http://pressbooks.com/plans

NOTE: If you’ve got more books in the system than 5-book the limit, fear not, we consider you “starting at zero,” so you won’t need to start paying until you’ve added 5 more books than what you have today.

4. Distribution
We are now offering global distribution for ebooks to easily get your ebooks into Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and elsewhere. For authors and publishers of less than 5 books, it’ll cost you $100/book (plus $25/year). For publishers of more than 5 books, it’ll cost $50 + 10% of net revenues, which comes with some other important goodies. Contact us if you are interested, and wait for tools inside the PressBooks admin shortly.

5. Import from WordPress
You can now import your WordPress blog into PressBooks, and select the chapters you want to keep (and decide whether they are chapters, frontmatter, or mainmatter). Images come along for the ride. Check the Tools menu item in the left menu, and click on Import. Tumblr and Blogger are supported too, but we haven’t fully tested those imports yet so there may be hiccups.

6. Improved CSS
We’ve made some tweaks to PressBooks CSS files, which improve certain things, particularly: paragraph indenting (or not) on Kindle eink devices, and handling of images & floats.

7. Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto
We’ve finished Part Three and published the final version of “Book: A Futurist’s Manfiesto,” the O’Reilly book built on PressBooks (web, epub/kindle, pint), and edited by Brian O’Leary and me. The official launch will come once the ebook and print book are up on Amazon (any day now!) but you can take a peek at the free online version now. The book brings in contributions from thinkers and practitioners working on the bleeding edge of publishing. More information here: http://book.pressbooks.com.

That’s it for now!

As always, contact us with questions, comments, criticisms and thoughts.

All the Best,

Hugh & the PressBooks gang.

Leave a Comment