Today I depart for Wikimania, the annual international user conference for the Wikimedia family of projects. I don’t know if there will be wifi on my flight, but it doesn’t matter, because I’ll be reading some Wikipedia articles anyway.
Packed in my carry-on is a glossy red paperback courtesy PediaPress, a really fascinating new publisher that prints books using wiki content. The team at PediaPress was kind enough to send me a book created from English Wikipedia articles.
Creating Your Wiki Book
Being a wiki enthusiast and editor myself, this was a book about Wikipedia, made up of Wikipedia articles. Pretty meta, right? If reading about Wikipedia or other wikis isn’t your thing, PediaPress has an extensive catalog filled with arts, culture, history and every other kind of reference.
For my bet though, the most interesting part of PediaPress is the ability to create your own custom book made up of whatever Wikipedia articles are important to you. Using the Book Creator tool, you can curate your own wiki book.
The Future of Publishing
This sort of personalized content is easy to get online but is less common in the print world. I think that what PediaPress is doing with . These inexpensive, easily modified books created from wiki content have potential applications more serious than amusing book nerds like me.
I certainly know educators who would love to hand their students a textbook they’ve custom tailored to fit the desired curriculum. Like all Wikimedia content, these books also show great promise in areas where either there are no traditional textbook publishers or where they are too expensive.
The PediaPress book is as nice as any paperback I ever bought locally or online, and is actually pretty meaty at more than 300 pages. The book arrived in good shape and is a pleasure to read, especially for those (like myself) that have held out against the e-book reader phenomenon. Sometimes, there’s nothing like a good book in your hand.