Hugh McGuire

publishing, technology, media, philosophy, a bit of politics.

PressBooks to Go Open Source

Some news from my professional life … we’re going to release PressBooks (our online ebook/printbook/webbook publishing tool) as an open source WordPress plugin:

PressBooks Going Open Source

PressBooks is going open source. We will be releasing PressBooks as a WordPress plugin (to be used on a stand-alone WordPress install), under the open source GPL license, target release date: end of January, 2013.

See below for more info, and some answers to questions you might have. And please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

What is PressBooks?

PressBooks is a simple online book publishing tool, built on WordPress. We help publishers and authors create ebooks, typeset/print-ready PDFs (to be turned into real books!), and webbooks (which can be public or private). For publishers, we can provide not just book production toolset, but also an online catalog and website (for examples, see: The Rogue Reader and AskMen Books). [more…]

CBC Spark and Contents Magazine – Talking about Books

Some stuff I’ve been doing lately:

Interview with me about books in Contents Magazine:

In the field of book futurism, Hugh McGuire is both maker and commentator. He runs PressBooks, which offers a digital workflow for ebook creation built on top of WordPress, and LibriVox, a massive collection of free, public domain audiobooks. We spoke with him about the book in the present and the very near future. [more…]

More talking about books at CBC Radio: Spark, with Nora Young, specifically books and the internet. I’m batting clean-up, segment starts at 45mins. Listen here.

Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto – Available Now!

Book: A Futurist's Manifesto Cover

More than a year ago, I pitched a book idea first to Brian O’Leary (who became the co-editor), and then to Joe Wikert at O’Reilly Media. It was indeed a “book idea” in every sense of the word(s), and I am thrilled to announce that the “final” product is available today.

“Book: A Futurist’s Manfiesto” launches

Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, is finished, and you can now find in print, ebook, and online … at: AmazonBarnes & Noble, and of course at O’Reilly. (Coming soon: iBooks and Kobo and others).

Behind the Book

The “idea” of this book was to explore “the idea of a book.” We wanted to get away from the abstract or philosophical, and make a practical guide for the publishing world — for someone just starting a publishing enterprise today, for people in the business already, and for authors and self-publishers who want to think beyond “upload my book to Kindle.”

See the PressBooks blog for more info

PressBooks August News

Some news from PressBooks land:

Happy August to you all. Here are some quick announcements from PressBooks Worldwide Headquarters, including the following:

1. New front page
2. New webbook / readview designs
3. Pricing announced
4. Distribution (to Kindle, Nook, iBooks etc)
5. Import from WordPress
6. Improved CSS
7. Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto Part 3 – unofficial launch

[more …]

The Bluring Lines Between Books and the Internet (TEDx Montreal)

Here is me talking about books & the internet at TEDx Montreal:


[table id=1 /]


Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto

I co-edited this book!

Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto

A new book about the future of publishing, built on the PressBooks platform, a new way to make books.

Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto: Essays from the bleeding edge of publishing (buy ebook / read free online), a handbook for publishers of the future, has been released by O’Reilly Media. It was built on the new, simple book production platform, Edited by PressBooks founder Hugh McGuire, and long-time publishing thinker and doer, Brian O’Leary, it contains essays from leading practitioners in the trenches of books & technology, including Liza Daly, Craig Mod, and Laura Dawson.

More info

We are pleased to announce the first published book produced using the PressBooks book production platform, suitably titled: “Book: A Furturist’s Manifesto (Part 1) … Essays from the bleeding edge of publishing.” The book is published by O’Reilly Media, and edited by PressBooks founder Hugh McGuire, and long-time publishing thinker and practitioner, Brian O’Leary.

Says the book’s co-editor, Brian O’Leary: “We wanted to bring together resources that would be immediately useful to publishers and future publishers as they make decisions in their everyday life about how to approach the making of books. It’s a kind of handbook you’d want to give someone who is starting a publishing house today.” Adds Hugh McGuire, “We really wanted to get beyond the abstract, and take a look at some things that are happening right now, some real technologies and real projects that are shaping publishing. It’s meant to be practical and applicable right now, as publishers prepare themselves for the digital future.”

This release is Part 1, with Parts 2 and 3 to be available in the coming months (those who buy now will get Parts 2 and 3 for free as they come out). Essays in the book are written by a collection of thought leaders and practitioners on the “bleeding edge of publishing,” including:

* Introduction (Hugh McGuire)

* Context, not Container (Brian O’Leary)

* Distribution Everywhere (Andrew Savikas)

* What We Can Do with Books (Liza Daly)

* What We Talk About When We Talk About Metadata (Laura Dawson)

* Analyzing the Business Case for DRM (Kirk Biglione)

* Tools of the Digital Workflow (Brian O’Leary)

* Designing Books in the Digital Age (Craig Mod)

The entire book production process — authoring, editorial, copyediting, and proofreading, as well as ebook production (and typesetting and print production to follow), took place on, a new publishing workflow tool, built for anyone publishing books and other long-form structured documents.

Says Joe Wikert, Publisher of O’Reilly Media: “We were really excited about testing out a new, easy-to-use platform for making books. And the subject matter is perfect: We are practicing what we preach, writing about the future of publishing while experimenting with new ways of approaching production and customer interaction.”

* You can buy the book here.

* Or read it online (for free), at

* You can find out more about PressBooks here.

For more information, please contact Hugh McGuire:

Beatrice on Hannah

This is Beatrice’s first time on a horse, on cousin Al’s Percheron Hannah (Johanna I think), who once was part of a driving pair, “but” her partner died a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, Hannah’s back leg isn’t right, so the old girl isn’t long for this world. I’m glad Beatrice got to meet her.

Kiki on Hannah

Kiki on Hannah

What are Libraries For? … In the Library with the Lead Pipe

I have an article in the really great blog, In the Library with a Lead Pipe, which goes something like this:

Ebooks will become the dominant form of casual reading for adults at some point in the future1. When this happens, community and public libraries will face a major existential crisis, because a fundamental (perhaps the fundamental) function of community libraries—lending print books—will no longer be a fundamental demand from the community. Libraries that do not adjust will find their services increasingly irrelevant to the populations they serve.

If ebooks will become dominant, and if community libraries have, to date, structured their existence around a dying function (lending print books), then how will libraries remain relevant in the future?

To find an answer to this conundrum, it’s important to try to understand the reason for a library’s existence, rather than focus on the things a library does.


Interview with David Wilk

David Wilk invited me to his Publishing Talks Podcast, to about LibriVox, iambik, libraries, PressBooks, and general future of publishing stuff.

Here is the link.

And here is the audio [mp3].