We are suggesting a framework for open access publishing of comprehensive, elaborately structured digital textbooks, potentially enriched by extensive non-textual data. The framework will comprise of a software toolbox containing a collaborative authoring platform, manuscript workflow system, tools for editorial work, presentation platform, updating workflow, interfaces for dissemination and long-term preservation. In addition to the software toolbox itself, guidelines and standards for all aspects of digital textbook publishing, including peer review, metadata and editorial procedures, legal issues as well as a business model will be developed, resulting in a best practice guide to digital textbook publishing. The software and workflows will not be developed from scratch, but build upon existing open-source software, using the example of a scientific textbook of hand surgery as its first use case. This paper introduces the project and gives a prospectus of the proposed framework.