Pressbooks Major Release Scheduled: March 15-16

Great news! Pressbooks has been making changes to the interface and functionality based on your feedback. The major release is scheduled for later this month. Here’s a heads up of the changes that are on the way.

Post by Amanda Coolidge, Senior Manager, Open Education

Most of the improvements are under the hood. However, there are a few big changes we would like to call to your attention.

First, a new look and feel are available for the network homepage and catalog. The new standalone catalog page is sortable and filterable, for improved discovery.

Pressbooks has also given the webbook a much-needed makeover, with some added functionality. A wider book layout, better scrolling, and navigation are just some of the enhancements. We have also updated the open textbook theme at BCcampus. A big thanks to Ryerson University for supporting the development of these changes.

The Luther theme will be retiring on the same day as the new release. In their place, Pressbooks is releasing two new themes, McLuhan and Jacobs. These two themes both offer expanded theme options, and both are designed with textbooks in mind. Their development has been generously funded by eCampus Ontario. We will be continuing to use the open textbooks as our default theme and the theme for the BCcampus Open Textbook Collection.

We are thoroughly testing the updated Pressbooks prior to the release and these improvements should not cause any issues with your existing books. But, if anything does come up, let us know right away using our contact form.

Other changes include:

  • Save Button: Pressbooks heard your pleas for a clearer way to save your chapters. It’s here! (In the past, the “save” button was named Update, Publish, or other variations based on the status of your post.) Note that when you create a new chapter, front or back matter section, you will first see a “Create” button, but subsequent changes can be saved by clicking on the new “Save” button.
  • Contributor Management: Pressbooks added a centralized contributor management tool where you can add contributors who can then be reused throughout your book as authors, editors, translators, reviewers, illustrators, and generic contributors.
  • Organize Page Improvements: Pressbooks revamped the Organize page, improving the display on mobile devices, and improving accessibility for keyboard navigation and screen reader users.
  • Chapter Importing: Now, you can import individual chapters from a public, openly licensed Pressbooks webbooks using the Import tool. All you need to drop is drop in the URL for a book, begin the import process, then select the chapters you wish to add to your book. (Content that is private, All Rights Reserved or that carries any of the Creative Commons Non-Derivative licenses cannot be imported.)
  • Content Visibility: Pressbooks has made it more intuitive to manage the visibility of your content across web and exports. Now you can simply designate content visibility in web and exports on both the Organize page and the edit screen for individual front matter, chapters and back matter.
  • Import Files from URL: You can now import supported file formats hosted on remote (web-based) sources via URL. If you have files hosted elsewhere (with the right permissions), you no longer need to download and upload files, but can import them directly with just the URL.
  • Ebook Start Point: Pressbooks has moved the ebook start point setting to the ebook Theme Options page to ensure that only one front matter, chapter, or back matter can be set as the ebook start point. (Note that Pressbooks tries to enforce the ebook start point you select. However, e-reader devices may still override the start point you designate.)
  • Language Support Changes: Pressbooks has renamed the Language Support section in Theme Options to Language & Script Support to better reflect its functionality; we’ve also re-labeled Hindi support to Devanagari, to clarify that the Devanagari script supports Hindi, Sanskrit, and over 120 other languages.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or problems navigating the new features.

Want to see how it looks?

Our team put together a screencast of the new interface and the changes that you will see when the release happens mid-March.

Stay up to date

Interested in staying in the know on Pressbooks updates?

Be sure to check updates and attend one of the webinars we will be hosting to review the changes to the Pressbooks UI:

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