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Creating a Book on PubPub

A simple guide and best practices to use as a starting point for creating both individual books and book collections.
Published onDec 22, 2021
Creating a Book on PubPub

This guide assumes that you have a working familiarity with PubPub’s Core Concepts.

PubPub is designed to support one or multiple books per Community, with Collections representing each book, and Pubs in each collection representing book chapters and other materials. This guide will detail a basic setup for a book that already has some content ready to be published.


1. Fill out Community settings

You should start by filling out your Community-level settings. You can learn more about basic branding and navigation considerations in our community setup considerations guide.

For books, there is one key settings fields to keep in mind: Publisher. By default, the title of your community will be used as the publisher for citations and deposits. If you’d rather use a different name for the Publisher, you should fill out these fields.

2. Create your first Book collection

From the Community dashboard, create a new collection with the Book type. You’ll be taken to the Collection dashboard for the new book. From there, visit the Collection settings page. This page is where you can fill out the metadata needed to describe the book (ISBN, copyright date, etc). You can also add attribution for book authors and editors, which will appear in citations and on every article you publish within the Collection. If your book is a collection of works from multiple contributors, you’ll want to add the book editors here.

3. Add Pubs to your book

Once you’ve set your book’s metadata, you can start adding your chapters by creating new Pubs within the collection. Clicking the “Create Pub” button from your book’s Collection dashboard will automatically create a new draft Pub in the book. You can also add existing Pubs to a book from the Pub settings.

Pubs contain settings for figure numbering, citation and reference styles, authorship and attribution options, licenses, DOI depositing, and more. You can learn more about creating and configuring Pubs in our Pub Editor and Pub Settings guides.

4. Lay out your book

If your Community is hosting a single book, you’ll likely want to use the homepage of your community as its table of contents, and should skip to the next step. If you’re hosting multiple books, you’ll want to pay attention to each Collection’s layout.

In the layout tab of your Book’s Collection dashboard, you’ll find the tools to create the layout for your book. By default, the layout will contain a header block with the metadata you added, and a list of all the Pubs in the collection ordered by the order you set in the Collection overview dashboard. We find this to be a pretty sane default, but you can customize it to change the ordering of chapters, break the book into sections, add additional content or notes, and much more. You can learn more about configuring layouts in our Page Design and Management Guide.

5. Lay out your homepage

Every PubPub community contains a customizable homepage, which can be edited from the Pages tab of the Community overview dashboard. If you’re hosting a single book, you’ll likely want to use the homepage as your table of contents. You can do this by creating a Pub block and filtering it by the Book collection you just created.

If you’re hosting a collection of multiple books, you’ll likely want to show links to each book in the collection on your homepage. To show all of your books, create a Pages & Collection block and include the Book collections you created. If you publish new books, you’ll need to update this block.

For usability and SEO purposes, we also recommend that books include a text block with a description of their book, and their ISBN. Many book homepages also contain banners that feature a cover image and links to purchasing options. You can modify and preview your homepage banner from the Community settings dashboard.

You can learn more about configuring pages in our Page Design and Management Guide.

6. Create additional content

Some book or book collections like to include supplementary online materials, related event listings, or other information. You can do this with a combination of Pages, Collections, and Pubs.

In general, if the additional content you’re creating is more informational and static, like an about page describing a collection of books, you create a Page to describe it.

If you plan to create supplementary content that you think others would like to site, or you want to run an related events list or even complimentary blog, you should create a new Tag Collection for the content, with individual Pubs for each new post, and a Collection Layout to display your posts.

You can learn more about configuring layouts and pages in our Page Design and Management Guide.

7. Create your navigation

Once you’ve created your pages, you’ll want to create your navigation, which will help visitors browse and understand your book. PubPub has two configurable navigation sections, one in the header, one in the footer.

If you’re publishing a single book, you may not need to do much with navigation. Often, a link to the homepage, and an external link to purchasing options, if applicable, will suffice. If you’re hosting multiple books, or planning to include supplementary content, however, you’ll want to do a little bit more. If you’re hosting a collection of books, you’ll likely want to create a dropdown with a link to each of your book Collections. If you have supplementary online content, you’ll want to link to those Pages or Collections from your navigation bar as well.

You can learn more about configuring navigation in our community setup considerations guide.

8. Publish your book

At this point, you may want to add members, either to your entire Community, individual Book collections, or individual Pubs, to help review or edit your content.

When you’re ready to publish your book, you’ll need to make your content public. First, set all of your Pages to public. Then, set your Book collections to Public. Finally, go to each of your Pubs and create releases for them. When you’re done, you can see how your site will look to others by visiting it in a private browser window.

9. Deposit your book

Once the book is published, you may want to deposit it to Crossref, so that they can be referenced by DOI. If you have an existing Crossref membership, you’ll need to reach out to our team so we can add your membership to our system. Otherwise, you can use PubPub’s membership to deposit.

Once you’re ready, depositing is as easy as clicking “Deposit” on the Book Collection settings page, and then “preview deposit” on the settings page of each chapter you want to deposit.


Here are a few good examples of different types of book setups on PubPub:

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