Pressbooks add-on to DOOO - differences from PressbooksEDU

Can anyone give me a rundown of some differences between getting the Pressbooks add-on managed service to our institutional DOOO account and the PressbooksEDU accounts managed by Pressbooks directly? On the Reclaim website Jim writes “… and gets you most of what PressbooksEDU packages offer”, so what isn’t offered?

Specifically we’re interested in the MathJax, Hypothesis, and H5P integrations.


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Pressbooks has open-sourced a few of their themes, but not all. There are way more themes available on PressbooksEDU than Reclaim Hosting. I particularly like their “Malala” theme that is not Open Source. Here are all of the Pressbooks themes.

For the opensource themes, I really only use McLuhan and Jacobs, because they switched how themes are generated and work when they switched from book v1 to McLuhan that they sometimes refer to as book v2.

MathJax currently isn’t available in the DOOO hosting, because the MathJax in Pressbooks needs to run a microservice that isn’t compatible with the shared hosting environment.

The other thing you will have to submit a ticket for and work with reclaim is the PrinceXML dependency. PrinceXML is not open source, so you have to either purchase a server license, OR if you are using your server for OER and will be providing PDFs for free to anyone who visits, PrinceXML has a noncommerical license, where you can use the paid app as long as you follow some fairly easy criteria. For example, you cannot delete the watermark from page 1 of your PDFs and you have to list PrinceXML as a partner on your Pressbooks network.

Here’s my statement on my Pressbooks network to try to comply with the terms of the non-commercial license.

My experience working with Pressbooks comes from working with 3 separate vendors of Pressbooks. Lumen Learning (they rebrand Pressbooks as “Candela”), Geneseo’s Milne Library has a Pressbooks.EDU account, and then our SUNY Create Pressbooks uses our DoOO infrastructure (we may move to Reclaim Cloud in the future, particularly so we can enable MathJax, because that is important to us as well).

Pressbooks has been working to figure out its sustainability as all open-source developers need to do, and one of the things it seems to be playing with is holding back some things as premium services that are only available when you work with them. I think the most recent example is the updates they are doing with the LTI plugin that they haven’t compeletly open sourced. Basic LTI integration works with the open source Pressbooks-LTI so that books can be embeded into the LMS, but they spent some time configuring an LTI 1.3 compliant plugin that would allow grade passback between H5P activities and the LMS. To get that plugin, they want you on the highest tier of support, and they would want you to pay by FTE size of your university.

(I don’t begrudge them this, every open source developer has to figure out how they are going to make money and keep the project moving forward.)

So what can DoOO Pressbooks do?

  • Install Pressbooks
  • Export PDFs, EPUBs, MOBI (You get better PDFs from PrinceXML than you would from the opensource mPDF plugin)
  • Any opensource plugins that lots of Pressbooks networks use (H5P, TablePress,
  • Connect to SSO
  • Connect to your LMS via LTI so that books can be viewed inside the LMS.

What extras do you get from Pressbooks.EDU

  • Priority support from the developers of the application.
  • More Themes and styles for your books.
  • Their LTI includes grade passback of H5P activities
  • Accessible Math using MathJax (You can still do math via Pressbooks, but you would have to use the QuickLaTeX plugin that does not meet minimum standards for math accessibility.)
  • Pressbooks network diagnostics

Great, thanks. My biggest questions were around the plugins and PDF exporting.

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