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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Publishing in Pressbooks: Get Started

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

Have More Questions?

Have more questions? Contact Scholarly Communication and Publishing at for more information and guidance or visit our website. 

Scholarly Communication and Publishing

Introduction to Using Pressbooks

Register Your Account

You can sign up for a free Pressbooks account at It is free to use for private books, but requires a one-time fee of $20 to make a public EBook.


To begin using Pressbooks, register an account and activate it using your email.

You can choose to create your book either at the time of registration or later on after you log into your new account. Remember that your book's web address cannot change, so be deliberate in the URL you choose. Your book title and other info, however, can be changed at any time.


The Dashboard is where you will control every aspect of your book. Use the menu on the left side of the screen to navigate and customize your book. Use the Catalog at the top of the dashboard to navigate between multiple books. 

The dashboard screen.

Add Book Information

The Book Info Page is where you edit and add the metadata--descriptive information about your book.

This Includes:

  1. Title, Subtitle, Short title (for the file name) 
  2. Author names
  3. Publisher
  4. Copyright & licensing 
  5. Cover Image

The Book Info page


The book information appears on the front screen of your book, both in an abbreviated form and as the full descriptive metadata. 

The descriptive metadata shown on to readers of your book.

Add and Organize Your Text

You can add and organize your text on the Organize page from the left sidebar of the book's dashboard. From there, you can access all the book's chapters and content. Each chapter opens up into a WYSIWYG editor which allows you to add and revise the text.

Often, you have already prepared your text in a Word document or other text processor. Pressbooks allows you to import your text directly from your files--EPUB, Microsoft Office, Open Office, other Pressbooks, or web pages. Prepare your book for importing by structuring the document using Heading 1 formatting for all chapter titles. Watch the Pressbooks Demo to learn more. 

Structure chapter headings in your text using Heading 1

To import your book, go to Tools and Import. Select the document type and from there, you will be able to select which chapters to from the document you wish to import. You will be able to reorganize and edit them in Pressbooks from the Organize screen once they have been loaded.

Select chapters from your document to import into pressbooks

Your book includes three main sections:

Front Matter: The introduction, foreword, dedication, and more. 

Chapters: The main body of your work. 

Back MatterEpilogue, author's note, appendix, and more. 

Pressbooks lets you specify the types of frontmatter and backmatter to keep things organized. 

Choose Book Theme

There are 20 book templates to choose from which can be accessed by going to the Appearance tab and clicking on Themes. Under the theme details, Pressbooks has a set of recommended uses for each. 

Themes available in pressbooks.

Theme Options

Under Theme Options, themes can be customized in a number of ways--page size, paragraph separation, colors, and labels with differing options for the Web, PDF, and EBooks. For more advanced options, users can also modify any theme's CSS.