Why We Removed Pressbooks from the WordPress Plugin Repository

Posted by Ned Zimmerman

A couple weeks ago, we removed Pressbooks from the WordPress Plugin Repository. We want to offer an explanation for this decision to our users, and give some insight into our plans for the distribution of Pressbooks moving forward.

Pressbooks has never been a typical WordPress plugin. It is a platform, not a plugin, and as such it completely transforms the WordPress interface into a content management system for book authoring and formatting. Furthermore, it requires WordPress Multisite and it also requires a number of third-party libraries to support its export routines (epubcheck, KindleGen, PrinceXML and xmllint to name a few) which cannot be installed on shared hosting environments. As such, Pressbooks is not a WordPress plugin that is particularly useful without:

  1. A virtual private server (VPS) environment;
  2. An advanced knowledge of WordPress configuration, especially multisite;
  3. Some devops experience.

Over the years, we have encountered many WordPress users who installed Pressbooks from the WordPress Plugin Repository on their existing blogs[1. Don't do this!] and were frustrated by the experience. After much consideration, we have decided that the best way to support all users of the Pressbooks plugin is to remove it from the WordPress Plugin Repository and distribute it via GitHub.

For those who don't want to run their own Pressbooks infrastructure, we offer the following options:

  • Pressbooks.com, for authors and small publishers creating a single book or a handful of books per year
  • Pressbooks EDU, our premium hosted service for educational institutions
  • Pressbooks Publisher, our premium hosted service for publishers

For those who are interested in running their own networks, we are working to improve the installation documentation and provide several methods to keep Pressbooks updated.