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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Publishing in Pressbooks: Pressbooks for OER

This is a short introductory guide to using Pressbooks to self-publish.

LibGuides on OER

Tools & Resources


Pressbooks is a popular tool for open textbooks, making easy the process of creating, modifying, and publishing. Its overall commitment to accessible design, coupled with the support for interactive assessment, embedded multimedia, and web annotation contribute to high quality OER. 

As some of these services are restricted to members of PressbooksEDU, University of Illinois faculty members seeking to make interactive OER in Pressbooks should seek a consultation with the Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing

Book Cloning vs. XML Importing

One reason Pressbooks is great for OER is that it does not require that content be used exclusively on the Pressbooks site. Books can be downloaded in a variety of formats and re-used with any software that fits your needs. But if you would like to adapt and remix OER within the Pressbooks network to create a new Pressbook, there are two main ways to do it. 


For users with PressbooksEDU or the the open source Pressbooks, adapting and remixing OER is simple. Users can "clone" or copy any public, openly licensed book on the Pressbooks network to their own network then adapt it to their own needs. 

You can:

  • Instructors can duplicate and immediately begin adapting books specifically for their classrooms
  • Course syllabi can be replicated and updated each semester, leaving previous versions intact
  • Universities can share and disseminate their research and books easily with other institutions for quick adoption and adaptation.

See the directions for book cloning from the Pressbooks User Guide.

For those using the free version of Pressbooks, adapting and remixing OER is still possible. When you find an open textbook on the Pressbooks network, download the file as Pressbooks XML. Download options can be found on the cover page. 

Alternatively, you can right click the link to the Pressbooks XML file and copy the link.

Download options for a pressbooks book.

Next, from the Pressbooks dashboard find the Tools menu and select Import. Under Import type select Pressbooks/Wordpress XML. Either upload the file (if downloaded), or paste the URL (if copied). 

The Importer screen will allow you to select which parts you wish to include. 

The book importer screen allows you to select which chapters are included with check boxes and assign parts

Since you do not have access to the H5P plugins of Pressbooks EDU, duplicating interactive content is not recommended. As always with OER, remember to add the proper CC-licensing and attribution. 

H5P Content

Pressbooks has a H5P plugin that allows authors to create interactive content within their books. This is only available through PressbooksEDU or those hosting Pressbooks locally. The plugin is also available in Wordpress, Moodle, and Drupal. H5P has a wide range of interactive content types including quizzes, audio recordings, fill in the blanks, and interactive video.

Example from Português para principiantes by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, UW-Madison.



Pressbooks currently supports LaTeX for all books, offering both the option of shortcodes that automatically convert your formulas and a plugin that allows you to write LaTeX directly into your books.