5-Steps to Getting Started on Pressbooks

Pressbooks is a simple book publishing tool. Put your book content into Pressbooks, edit as you like, and create beautiful printbooks, ebooks, and webbooks simultaneously. This chapter will gives you a very quick overview of Pressbooks, which can be explored in more detail in the rest of this Guide.

The Simple 5-Step Guide to Making a Book with Pressbooks

Step 1: Create a book.

You can register for your account at Pressbooks.com.

Step 2: Add your book information.

This includes important elements like the author name, the title, and the copyright license. This information can be added on the Book Info page.

Step 3: Add and Organize your Text.

Import a manuscript or add in your chapters, then structure the content on the Organize page.

Step 4: Choose your book’s theme.

Themes are the design templates for your book which you can select by going to Appearance > Themes.

Step 5: Export your book.

Export formats include MOBI (for Kindle), EPUB (for Nook, iBooks, and more), PDF (for print and print-on-demand), and webbook (which can be viewed immediately without export).

The Detailed 5-Step Guide to Making a Book with Pressbooks

Step 1: Create a book

You can register for an account at Pressbooks.com. In the registration process, you will create a username and password. You will also need to supply an email address where we will send you an email to complete the registration and activate your account.

How to start the Pressbooks registration process
STEP 1: Start the registration process here and follow the easy instructions.

You’ll also be prompted to create and register a book at the time of your account creation, or wait to create one later.

Register your book now or later

Step 2: Add your Book Information

The Book Info page is where you add and edit important information about your book, called metadata. This includes information such as:

  • Title
  • Author name
  • Publication date
  • Publisher
  • Copyright license and notice
  • Ebook cover image

Some information is mandatory, such as the book’s title and the author’s name, as we use it to automatically build integral parts of your book. Most other elements are optional or can be used only when relevant to your book.

The Book Info page.
Add the details of your book such as title, author, and more on the Book Info page.

Step 3: Add and Organize Your Text

You can add and organize your text from the Organize page which is found in the left sidebar menu of your book’s dashboard.

This will be how you access all of your chapters and content in order to create or revise your text. You can also reorganize chapters and parts of your book to change the layout.

You’ll see the three main parts of your book on this page:

Front Matter: Content in this section may include your introduction, foreword, dedication, and more. You can read more in our chapter on Front Matter.

Chapters: This is the main body of your book. The main body can be broken up into several distinct Parts. You can learn more in our chapters on adding Parts and adding Chapters to your book.

Back Matter: Content in this section may include your epilogue, author’s note, appendix, and more. More details can be found in our chapter on Back Matter.

The Organize page
Add, edit, and reorganize the content of your book in the Organize page.

Importing

The Organize page is not the only place you can add your text. For more information on other ways to import your text into Pressbooks, check out our our chapters on How to Get Your Book into Pressbooks.

Step 4: Choose Your Book Theme

Every Pressbooks user has access to more than 20 professionally designed book templates which we call Themes. The theme you choose governs the display of all of your exports, including the PDF, ebook, and webbook formats.

Themes determine the typeface of your text and the chapter title page design, among other features. The themes Pressbooks offers span a large range of genres, from textbooks and monographs to science fiction and romance.

You can browse themes by going to Appearance > Themes. 

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The theme details for the Adunis theme.
You can hover over any theme and click Theme Details to see information about that theme and its intended use.

Theme Options

Many of the other design elements of your book can be customized in your Theme Options after you have chosen the look of your book. These customizations include page size, paragraph separation, and more.

The choices that you can make in your theme options are divided into four sections: Global Options, Web Options, PDF Options, and Ebook Options. Global theme options apply to all formats of your book and include elements such as the table of contents display, language and script support, and the chapter license display.

Each of the three other theme option sections apply changes to only one specific book format. This is because the web, PDF, and ebook versions of your book are created with three separate style sheets. This enables you to, for example, have one paragraph separation for the web version of your book and another for the print version of your book. These type of customizations are important considerations when considering the accessibility of your text.

Theme options PDF
Customize how your text will look in different export formats in the Appearance > Theme Options page.

Step 5: Export Your Book

You can export four of the five supported book formats from the Export page, found on the left sidebar menu of your book’s dashboard. These formats include:

  • Print PDF
  • Digital PDF
  • EPUB
  • MOBI

The fifth supported book format is your Pressbooks webbook, which you can view by hovering over the title of your book on the top menu in Pressbooks, then clicking Visit Book. 

You can also export several other experimental formats of your book. Note that Pressbooks does not provide technical support for any of the following file types:

  • EPUB 3
  • XHTML
  • HTMLBook
  • OpenDocument
  • Pressbooks XML
  • WordPress XML
The Export menu allows exporting to different formtas
Export your book to different formats in the Export page.
NOTE: Files will have Pressbooks watermarks or ads in all exports until the book has been upgraded. Your Pressbooks webbook cannot be made public until the book has been upgraded. For more information, please refer to our chapter on How to Upgrade.

Prefer to watch and learn?

Check out these video tutorials.

Ready to Get Started?

You can start making a book right now. Register or login to Pressbooks here.

License

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Pressbooks User Guide by Book Oven Inc. (Pressbooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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