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Open Educational Resources Collective Publishing Workflow

Manage Editions

Deciding Whether to Create a New Version or Edition

If you want your open textbook to stay relevant, you’ll need to keep reviewing it for potential updates and revisions. Revising or updating your textbook regularly ensures your content reflects current developments in the field, including:

  • changes in the discipline or subject area
  • real-world changes that provide new or improved examples of theoretical concepts.

The ability to conduct major updates and revisions – rather than just make small improvements and additions and correct errors – highlights how open textbooks can be responsive to wider changes in theory, discourse and practice.

Some of the areas you should focus on when considering revising or updating your open textbook are:

  • examples
  • case studies
  • language and terminology
  • methodologies
  • resource lists
  • literature reviews

Continual updates and revisions are particularly important for ensuring your textbook is inclusive of diverse experiences and perspectives. Appy Inclusion and Diversity Standards provides some ideas for making your textbook as diverse and inclusive as possible.

There are two options for revising or updating your textbook:

  • new version – for minor changes such as maintenance and small improvements to existing content, usually indicated by point increments (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.)
  • new edition – for significant changes (usually to reflect developments in the discipline or a new approach to the content) such as additions and updates to the original release, indicated by whole number increases (e.g., 1st edition, 2nd edition, 3rd edition, etc.).

The scale of the changes you plan to make – from user feedback to significant additions – will determine whether you should release a new version or edition.

Planning for New Editions

Many authors start thinking about the second edition of their textbook before the first is even published. This is because a textbook is only a snapshot of information that will continue to evolve after the book is released.

You can prepare for future editions by collecting:

To help manage these changes and additions, you may want to create a duplicate copy of your textbook – for example with Pressbooks’ Clone a book feature – and use this as a template for the next edition. 

Publishing and Releasing New Editions

While one of the advantages of open textbooks is that they’re flexible and easy to update, you’ll still need to consider the impact of these changes on existing users to avoid disruptions to teaching and learning.

When publishing and releasing a new edition:

  • don’t release new editions too frequently (e.g. every year)
  • time releases of new editions for breaks between teaching periods
  • communicate expected changes and updates to adopters in advance, before you replace the content – this may even motivate them to help you make these improvements
  • notify adopters and other stakeholders once the changes are complete by pointing them to the new edition, as well as the version history outlining the updates you’ve made
  • advise collections hosting your textbook of these changes and make sure they’re sharing the latest edition (e.g. open textbook repositories such as the Open Textbook Library or your institutional repository
  • consider marketing and promoting your new edition to help with adoptions. 


Adapted from:

Updates and Revisions’ in Authoring Open Textbooks by Melissa Falldin and Karen Lauritsen, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

Maintain the Book’ in Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri M. Aesoph, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

Improvements and Maintenance Overview’ in The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.