Open, Webby Book Publishing Systems

Hugh McGuire (PressBooks / LibriVox / Iambik ), Kirk Biglione (Oxford Media Works), John Maxwell (Simon Fraser University)
General Metropolitan East
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This session will examine open, web-first book-publishing systems, built on top of the open source blogging software platform, WordPress. We’ll look at work done with Simon Fraser University’s Ickmull project and Book of MPub, George Mason University’s Anthologize plugin, and other developments.

This work suggests a future where we create “books” in the cloud first. With structured mark-up, expressions of a book in various forms (print, epub, pdf, mobipocket, html, etc) on various devices (iPad, Kindle, or paper & print) becomes almost arbitrary, and trivial in practice. Further, if the book lives first in the cloud, then the range of things that can be done with it multiplies significantly — giving publishers flexibility to experiment much more easily within the digital landscape.

If a system built on these ideals is implemented well, it could be transformative, both for professional publishing workflows, and for the emergence of a new grassroots of independent publishing.

Photo of Hugh McGuire

Hugh McGuire

PressBooks / LibriVox / Iambik

Hugh is the founder of PressBooks, an open source book publishing platform built on WordPress; founder of, a publisher of free volunteer-read public domain audiobooks; and the co-editor with Brian O’Leary of “Book: A Futurist Manifesto.”

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Kirk Biglione

Oxford Media Works

Kirk is a seasoned digital media professional specializing in web publishing systems, SEO, and user experience. As principal of Oxford Media Works Kirk consults with clients on a range of issues related to web publishing and digital media strategies. Kirk shares his knowledge of web content management systems at WP Apprentice, an online training portal designed to help publishers use WordPress as a CMS.

Photo of John Maxwell

John Maxwell

Simon Fraser University

John is the digital tech prof in the Master of Publishing program at SFU’s Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing. John has been researching and working in digital publishing, educational technology, and the Internet for nearly 20 years. He is currently researching/developing web-first XML editorial and production tools for small book and periodical publishers.

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Picture of John Maxwell
John Maxwell
01/14/2011 9:29am EST

Our paper on the SFU r&d work so far: “Traversing the Book of MPub: An Agile, Web-first Publishing Model” in J of Electronic Publishing, Dec 2010.

  • Ingram Content Group
  • Qualcomm
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • Aptara
  • Bowker
  • Connotate
  • HP
  • Jouve North America
  • LibreDigital
  • Malloy
  • MarkLogic
  • Random House, Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Sterling Commerce
  • Baker & Taylor
  • The BookMasters Group
  • Constellation
  • Jacquette Consulting
  • Mashery
  • Silverchair
  • Wolfram
  • Smashwords, Inc.

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