Startup City Magazine

PressBooks: A Platform for Written Works

It’s an exciting world with new things being created every moment and something happening all the time and gone are the days when the perfect way to spend time was to curl yourself up with a book. However startups like Pressbooks are making the effort towards putting technology to good use in encouraging people to read. ePubs, Mibis and PDFs are not easily grasped by all. This is where Hugh McGuire’s PressBooks comes to the rescue.

Written works, whether fiction or nonfiction can now be uploaded and published in an easy way. All that the writer needs to do here is get the front matter created, a cover page added and chapters flown in. A WordPress page gets provided to each chapter with all its comments. Users can use the XML Compliance format in getting an entire book downloaded.

“We’ve been relatively quiet on marketing, and have been focusing on trying to get something users love. We think we are there now, with a whole revamp of the code, and improvements now happening at a fast pace,” said McGuire. “In our free service, we’re seeing something like 100 print and ebook exports a day.”, as reported by

Multiple books can also be created here. “So it is still early days, but it’s the long haul we are after. We’ve seen multiple competitors spend lots of money on marketing, see spikes in traffic, and then fade. We’ve focused not on user acquisition to date, but rather on making something a small number of users, including commercial publishers, as well as self-published authors, love.”

Your work will be well laid out with a good system for content management. The book created here can also be exported with the use of PrinceXML which can get the TMl turned into a PDF. Services for print on demand can also be provided here.

Books can also be hosted through the website called Added features and customization are also available for pay. “While there are other tools out there, focusing on ebooks or print, I don’t know of any other services that have taken such a broad view, of making a book content management system that will output,” he said.

The program receives its money from support and installation.

“My very first conception of PressBooks was as an open source tool. As we started building I changed course, for a few reasons: unless I could see a clear business case to open source, I wasn’t ready to do it, we had a focus on trying to make a great tool — and before pressbooks was great, I wasn’t sure I wanted it out in the world as OSS.” says McGuire.

“What changed was coming to the realization that our existing business model wasn’t flying: we have a decent number of self-publishers using PressBooks, and a handful of commercial publishers using it — but you need huge volume to make the self-pub route work; and the vast majority of commercial publishers are just not ready to make the radical step towards something like PressBooks.”, he further says.

“It became clear that one big problem in the book industry right now is that the tools and workflows for making print and digital are so cumbersome, costly and time-consuming. It was obvious that the world needed a great, and easy to use, web-based book creation tool — one that could do print and ebooks (which every author and publisher needs right now), but that would be future-proofed by building books right into the fabric of the web from the start,” he said. “We want to be the best content management system for books.”


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