Download the latest releases of Pressbooks, McLuhan, and Aldine, as well as the latest releases of any other book themes you wish to install.

Installation (Manual)


  • Do not install Pressbooks on an existing WordPress blog — create a new WordPress install instead.
  • Pressbooks works with PHP 7.0 and WordPress 4.9.6. Lower versions are not supported.

The installed network (WordPress + Pressbooks + McLuhan + Aldine) will use approximately 50 MB of server space. The total amount of server space you should provision will depend on the projected size of your network and the amount of media you expect to upload.

Part 1: WordPress

  1. Install WordPress using the Famous 5-Minute Install.

  2. Create a Network of WordPress sites, i.e.:

  3. Edit the wp-config.php file and add the following:

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);
  1. Login to the WordPress admin area. Navigate to ToolsNetwork Setup, click Install.

  2. Complete the steps printed on the screen (i.e. edit your wp-config.php and .htaccess files with the information provided).

Part 2: Pressbooks

  1. Copy the Pressbooks plugin folder to: /path/to/your/site/wp-content/plugins/*.

  2. Copy Pressbooks’ autoloader file from /path/to/your/site/wp-content/plugins/pressbooks/hm-autoloader.php to /path/to/your/site/wp-content/mu-plugins/hm-autoloader.php. You may need to create the wp-content/mu-plugins/ directory if it doesn’t yet exist.

  3. Copy the Pressbooks Book, Pressbooks Aldine and other theme folders to: /path/to/your/site/wp-content/themes/* (NOTE: theme folders must not have version numbers on the end. GOOD: pressbooks-aldine. BAD: pressbooks-aldine-3.1.0. Make sure that you rename the folders appropriately.)

  4. Log out, log in, navigate to: My SitesNetwork AdminDashboard.

  5. Navigate to PluginsInstalled Plugins.

  6. Network Enable "Pressbooks".

  7. Navigate to ThemesInstalled Themes.

  8. Network Enable "McLuhan", "Aldine", and any other Pressbooks theme you want to use.

  9. Navigate to SettingsNetwork Settings.

  10. Pick the most appropriate Registration setting:

    • User accounts may be registered. (Do not use this setting, since it will not allow users to create new books!)
    • Logged in users may register new sites. (If you are a publisher using Pressbooks as a production tool, this is the best setting: it allows network administrators to add new users, who can then create books/sites. However, registration is not available to the public.)
    • Both sites and user accounts can be registered. (Use this setting if you intend on offering a publishing-platform open to the public, such as
  11. Navigate to My CatalogYour SiteDashboard

  12. Navigate to Appearance and activate "Aldine".

  13. Navigate to My CatalogAdd A New Book (this will be your first book).

  14. Navigate to My CatalogYour First BookDashboard.

  15. Navigate to Book Info. Make sure to fill out Title, Author and Publication Date.

  16. Navigate to TextOrganize. Make sure some content is selected for export.

Part 3: Pressbooks Dependencies

Pressbooks requires some third-party libraries to be installed on your server to enable export capabilities.

  • For PDF export, you have three options:

    • Configure DocRaptor, which is a software as a service version of PrinceXML. To do this, you just need to add your DocRaptor API key to wp-config.php:
    • Install PrinceXML 11 on your server (note: this is not free software although you can use it free of charge for non-commercial purposes).
    • Install the mPDF for Pressbooks plugin to use the open source mPDF library. You will also need to ensure that the following folders have write access and/or they are owned by the appropriate user. See here for more details on adjusting file permissions.
    • wp-content/plugins/pressbooks-mpdf/symbionts/mpdf/ttfontdata
    • wp-content/plugins/pressbooks-mpdf/symbionts/mpdf/tmp
    • wp-content/plugins/pressbooks-mpdf/symbionts/mpdf/graph_cache
  • For MOBI export install KindleGen 2.9
  • For EPUB validation install EpubCheck 4.0.2
  • For XML validation install xmllint 20903
  • For ODT export install Saxon-HE 9.7.0-10
  • For the Cover Generator feature, install:
    • Ghostscript 9.18: sudo apt-get install ghostscript
    • ImageMagick 6.8.9: sudo apt-get install imagemagick
    • PdfToPpm and PdfInfo 0.41.0: sudo-apt-get install poppler-utils
  • Certain Linux installations do not ship with the php-xsl library enabled by default. If you attempt to export an ePub and get a either a white screen with minimal text, or a "Fatal error: Class ‘XSLTProcessor’ not found" error, you may need to run a command like sudo apt-get install php-xsl.
  • Certain Linux installations do not ship with the php-exif library enabled by default. If you attempt to export an ePub and get a either a white screen with minimal text, or an error, you may need to install this extension (e.g. sudo apt-get install php-exif )

Unlisted versions are not supported. Upgrade/downgrade accordingly.

Once installed, define the following wp-config.php variables (make sure to update the paths to correspond to your specific installation). The defaults are:

define( 'PB_PRINCE_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/prince' ); // Only required if you are using Prince on your server
define( 'PB_KINDLEGEN_COMMAND', '/opt/kindlegen/kindlegen' );
define( 'PB_EPUBCHECK_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/java -jar /opt/epubcheck/epubcheck.jar' );
define( 'PB_XMLLINT_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/xmllint' );
define( 'PB_SAXON_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/java -jar /opt/saxon-he/saxon-he.jar' );

Example config files for a dev site hosted at http://localhost/~example/textopress/

wp-config.php file [snippet]:

 * For developers: WordPress debugging mode.
 * Change this to true to enable the display of notices during development.
 * It is strongly recommended that plugin and theme developers use WP_DEBUG
 * in their development environments.
define('WP_DEBUG', true);
define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);

 * Multi-site support, Part 1
define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

 * Multi-site support, Part 2
define('MULTISITE', true);
define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false);
$base = '/~example/textopress/';
define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'localhost');
define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/~example/textopress/');
define('SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);
define('BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);

 * Pressbooks
define( 'PB_PRINCE_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/prince' );
define( 'PB_KINDLEGEN_COMMAND', '/home/example/bin/kindlegen' );
define( 'PB_EPUBCHECK_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/java -jar /home/example/bin/epubcheck/epubcheck.jar' );
define( 'PB_XMLLINT_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/xmllint' );
define( 'PB_SAXON_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/java -jar home/example/bin/saxon-he/saxon-he.jar' );

 * Optional definitions
// define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 60 ); // Autosave every N seconds
// define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 ); // Limit post revisions: int or false
// define( 'EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 1 ); // Purge trash interval. PB default is after 30 days.

/* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

.htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /~example/textopress/
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule  ^[_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $1 [L]
RewriteRule  ^[_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/(.*.php)$ $1 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

Installation (WP-CLI)

First, get WP-CLI.

Once WP-CLI is installed on your server, the following shell commands executed in the site root will download and install a fresh version of Pressbooks. Obviously you need to put in the correct information for your server and install on lines 2 and 10, and enter the correct paths to WP_PRINCE_COMMAND, PB_KINDLEGEN_COMMAND, PB_EPUBCHECK_COMMAND and PB_XMLLINT_COMMAND where indicated.

wp core download
wp core config --dbname="dbname" --dbuser="dbuser" --dbpass="dbpass" --extra-php <<PHP
/* Pressbooks */
define( 'WP_DEFAULT_THEME', 'pressbooks-book' );
define( 'PB_PRINCE_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/prince' );
define( 'PB_KINDLEGEN_COMMAND', '/opt/kindlegen/kindlegen' );
define( 'PB_EPUBCHECK_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/java -jar /opt/epubcheck/epubcheck.jar' );
define( 'PB_XMLLINT_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/xmllint' );
define( 'PB_SAXON_COMMAND', '/usr/bin/java -jar /opt/saxon-he/saxon-he.jar' );
wp core multisite-install --url='' --title='Pressbooks' --admin_user='username' --admin_password='password' --admin_email=''
wp plugin delete hello
wp plugin update-all
wp plugin install
mkdir wp-content/mu-plugins && cp wp-content/plugins/pressbooks/hm-autoloader.php wp-content/mu-plugins
wp plugin activate pressbooks --network
wp theme install
wp theme install
wp theme install
wp theme install
wp theme install
wp theme install
wp theme install    
wp theme enable pressbooks-book --network
wp theme enable pressbooks-jacobs --network
wp theme enable pressbooks-clarke --network
wp theme enable pressbooks-donham --network
wp theme enable pressbooks-fitzgerald --network
wp theme enable pressbooks-austenclassic --network    

Note that this does not install the required libraries for export. See above (Part 3).

Edit this post on GitHub.