Meet Barb Fister, a Minnesota author using Pressbooks

Babel Fish Boullabaisse book cover

Barb Fister is a local author who has published six books, two of which she self-published using Pressbooks: If Then Else, a YA novel , and Babel Fish Boullabaisse, a collection of essays.

In addition to being a writer, Barb is a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College and a prolific blogger for the Inside HigherEd Library Babel Fish blog.

Barb was an early adopter of Pressbooks, and I asked her if she could explain why she chose Pressbooks out of all the self-publishing software that was available: “I first heard about the platform when it was in beta mode and at that time it was free but with only three or four template options.  I had also tried Anthologize, but this seemed more robust and I liked the way it output the various file types.“

Using Pressbooks, Barb created an anthology of faculty statements about teaching, scholarship, and service and plans to use Pressbooks with a class next year.

I also asked Barb about the usability of Pressbooks: “What I like is that it's so, so, so easy to work with, and the folks behind it are very responsive. I wanted to have a different font for some of the lines in If Then Else and couldn't seem to get it to work - until Hugh McGuire [founder of Pressbooks] explained what I could do and hey, presto - just what I wanted.”

Barb mentioned that she’s part of a writer's organization, Sisters in Crime, and Pressbooks could provide an easy-to-learn/low-barrier self-publishing alternative to members who pay for someone else to typeset and design their books.  Barb added “this tool could be a great part of public library programming on the subject and there's a huge audience for it: so many people are writing these days. As for academic librarians, this could be really helpful for open access book publishing including digital humanities projects and open educational resources.” 

Pressbooks is now available to Minnesota libraries as part of the Minnesota Library Publishing Project, a pilot project coordinated by Minitex and Minnesota’s academic and public libraries. You can sign up for a Pressbooks account here.

balad001's picture

Rita Baladad

Cooperative purchasing is the acquisition and negotiation of collaborative electronic resources to achieve economies of scale for libraries. I manage planning, purchasing, invoicing, and renewal of electronic resources and services for institutions in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. In short, I'm the bridge between libraries and their vendors. Prior to librarianship, I worked in publishing: marking up articles for electronic journals at an academic press and editing for a trade publisher. You can reach Rita Baladad at