80 Book Cloning

PressbooksEDU Feature

Pressbooks enables you to easily “clone” or copy any public, openly licensed book from one Pressbooks network to your own PressbooksEDU network.

This can be helpful when a faculty member is adopting an open textbook produced by another OER program for their own classroom. By cloning the book on your own PressbooksEDU network, you can host the open textbook directly on your own branded Pressbooks website, remix the contents, and redistribute the new textbook. Read this chapter to find out more about:

  1. Use cases for cloning a book
  2. What content is cloned 
  3. How to clone a book 
  4. How to enable source comparison 
  5. What’s next for cloning 

Previously, copying an existing Pressbooks book required you to export it as a Pressbooks XML file, then import it into a new Pressbooks shell. However, the cloning feature simplifies this process considerably.

1. Use Cases for Cloning a Book

Cloning allows authors, editors, and readers to easily copy and begin editing a book for their own needs. This enables all sorts of uses for open education resources, as well as some practical ones for institutional users.

With this feature:

  • Instructors can duplicate and immediately begin adapting books specifically for their classrooms
  • Course syllabi can be replicated and updated each semester, leaving previous versions intact
  • Universities can share and disseminate their research and books easily with other institutions for quick adoption and adaptation.

2. What Content is Cloned

What is included when you clone a book:

  • All the chapters, front matter, and back matter that were public and openly licensed in the original source book
  • All the text in the above chapters, front matter, and back matter
  • All the images, videos, and other media that were in the media library of the original source book and are linked from the cloned content
  • The metadata in the Book Info section of the original source book
  • The metadata for the media content cloned from the original source book


What isn’t included when you clone a book:

  • TablePress tables
  • H5P interactive content

This content is not cloneable because they are created using third-party plugins that do not provide for API endpoints that our cloning tool can use to fetch the data.

3. How To Clone a Book

If your network has the cloning feature enabled, you can clone any Pressbooks book that is:

  • Made public on the web
  • Licensed with a Creative Commons license that allows derivatives (so excluding ‘all rights reserved’ content and no-derivatives (ND) licensed content)

If you try to clone a book that doesn’t meet these criteria, you will receive an error. If the book you want to clone does meet the criteria above, you can follow these steps to create your copy:

  1. On your Pressbooks dashboard, hover over  “My Catalog” and click on “Clone a Book”.

    You’ll be brought to the cloning interface.
    The cloning interface.

  2. Enter the the Source Book URL (the URL of the book you would like to copy). Make sure that the book is both public and licensed to allow remixing. If the book is private, or carries a “No Derivatives” license or is “All Rights Reserved”, you will receive an error message when attempting to clone the book.
    This is the book I would like to clone
  3. Enter the Target Book URL (the URL for your new version of the book.) You will be able to edit and export the book from this URL. Note that it cannot be changed later – we recommend using the new book’s title.
  4. Choose the title for the target book. Insert a new title in the “Target Book Title” field. Note that this setting is optional. If you leave this field blank, the target book will have the same title as the source book, and that title can be later changed on the Book Info page.
  5. Click on Clone It! and watch the magic happen! [Note: Only sections of the book that have been selected to “Show in Web” will be cloned]
  6. Once the process is complete, click on the new book’s title to be redirected to the dashboard, or enter the new URL to navigate to the book homepage.
    Cloning success message
NOTE: The use interface of cloned books will be in the language that the book’s metadata has been set to from the Book Info page. You can return the user interface to your chosen language in your profile settings. To find out more, go to https://guide.pressbooks.com/chapter/languages/

4. How to Enable Source Comparison

If you’d like to let users compare between the current version of your cloned book and the current version of its source book, you can enable the Source Comparison tool. Check out the Source Comparison chapter for more information on how to do this.

5. What’s Next for Cloning

Currently, users can clone individual books that are public and openly-licensed in their entirety, as well as select portions of books. Our talented dev team will continue to make improvements to the feature. In future, you will be able to:

  • Clone an entire collection of books (from your network or an external Pressbooks network)

This added functionality makes it easier to not only adapt and remix books from other networks, but also combine them to create collections of content that meet your needs! Watch this space.

If you have any questions about this feature, contact us!

NOTE: This feature is only available to users on Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Titanium PressbooksEDU networks. Contact us at sales@pressbooks.com if you’re interested in a PressbooksEDU system for your institution or company.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Book Cloning by Book Oven Inc. (PressBooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.