UPDATED: this post has been updated to mention PressBooks existing paid version, as per The Digital Reader
PressBooks, the content conversion service built on the WordPress blogging model, is going open source. (There will also continue to be a paid option.)
For ebook developers and publishers this is an opportunity to impact PressBooks’ functionality. With open source platforms, users have direct acces to the code and are able to modify it to meet their particular digital publishing needs.
PressBooks is sharing the beta source code now with selected partners. And it will offer both a free, open source version as well as a hosted version (with what looks to be a revamped fee schedule) in 2013: “we’ll have pricing outlined in the new year.”
Digital Book World has some experience with PressBook. We used the beta version to convert content in-house for our forthcoming ebook, Finding the Future of Digital Book Publishing.
PressBooks Going Open Source
PressBooks is going open source. We will be releasing PressBooks as a WordPress plugin (to be used on a stand-alone WordPress install), under the open source GPL license, target release date: end of January, 2013.
See below for more info, and some answers to questions you might have. And please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
What is PressBooks?
PressBooks is a simple online book publishing tool, built on WordPress. We help publishers and authors create ebooks, typeset/print-ready PDFs (to be turned into real books!), and webbooks (which can be public or private). For publishers, we can provide not just book production toolset, but also an online catalog and website (for examples, see: The Rogue Reader and AskMen Books).
What will open source mean for users of PressBooks.com?
The only impacts should be in constant improvements to PressBooks, and the ability, if you want, to install and run your own fully-customizable version of PressBooks.
Why is PressBooks going open source?
▪ We believe the future of books requires new models, and new models need open platforms to allow publishers and authors to experiment.
▪ We believe that an open source PressBooks will result in better technology for the world.
▪ We believe that an open source PressBooks will result in better business for us.
▪ We believe in the open web, and book content as part of the open web. Open book tools will promote books on the open web.
What are PressBooks’ objectives?
▪ We want PressBooks to be the most powerful, most flexible tool for publishing books.
▪ We want publishers to experiment with new business models (and non-business models), especially focusing on the things that publishers, readers, and technologists can do with webbooks.
Will everything be free?
▪ PressBooks.com will continue to be free, but we will be adding some premium features, including premium themes, with web, ebook and print outputs.
▪ The PressBooks plugin will be free to download, modify and use as you like.
▪ If you want the flexibility of the Open Source PressBooks, but without the hassle of hosting and maintaining it yourself, we’ll have pricing outlined in the new year (contact us now if you are interested).
Can I get access to the source code right now?
▪ We are sharing the beta source code with selected development partners. If you would like to be one such partner, please contact us.
I’d like to start using PressBooks now. Can I?
▪ Yes! Just visit pressbooks.com, sign up for an account — and start making a book!