Pressbooks is an online platform that allows you to create multiple books for digital and print. I’ve been a bit of a fan for many years now and still use it for most of my books. If you’re familiar with WordPress then you’ll recognise the dashboard as it is based on the popular website builder.
There are multiple templates for style that can be applied to a standard book structure with front and back matter sections to add pages such as a copyright page, acknowledgements, author notes and more. There is a lot of flexibility that allows you to drag pages and chapters around should you wish.
The export function allows ePub/Mobi and PDF (both for web and print).
Let’s take a closer look under the hood.
At the top you have an option to set the privacy level of your project. If public this enables you to share a front end version of chapters or the whole book online. Most of the time you’ll probably want it to be private.
On the left-hand side is the main navigation for areas of your book.
The Organise section gives you direct links to add chapters or other front/back matter items.
Below that is the global preferences including:
Book Info: This allows you to set the book metadata such as Author name, publisher, description and cover etc. This is also where you should amend the copyright notice.
Appearance: to set the template (or theme style for your book)
Export: to export your book to mobi (for Kindle), ePub (everywhere else) and PDF (web and print)
Publish: this is an option to add buy links to other stores. I would have separate pages for each platform instead, see below.
Free version v premium.
The free version will place a page advert for Pressbooks inside your book, whether you want it or not. You will need to upgrade to premium to remove it and have the ability to export a print-ready PDF. Each book upgrade usually costs around $99. However, if you’re on their mailing list they do offer discounts on a regular basis, usually knocking it down to $60 or so.
One element I love about Pressbooks is being able to untick boxes for certain sections before export that enables me to have separate back matter for my Kindle versions to ePub or print versions. So I’ll have a page for my back catalogue books on Kindle, Kobo and general on separate pages. When I have to update my book interior or add new links for the Kindle version, for example, I can simply tick the Kindle page and untick the others than export.
Why? Because I want to drive readers to my other books depending on the platform they are using. So my Kindle versions have direct links to my other books in the Kindle marketplace, a Kobo version links to their platform and so on. You’ll soon get your book knocked back to you if you include links to rival platforms anyway, as is the case with ebooks submitted to Apple Books with links to Kindle.
For a quick and user-friendly solution for book production, Pressbooks is high on my list. The free version has limitations and you may recoil at having an advert inside your book but by taking advantage of any offers it can be very affordable to upgrade.
To find out more about Pressbooks click here.