PediaPress offering user-customized books based on Wikipedia content

Wikis In Print

Just when everyone was being convinced that reading has moved on to the PC and eReaders, Wikipedia has started offering a web-to-print service through PediaPress across the U.S. People can now customize and order books based on Wikipedia content that boasts of having more than 3 million articles in English alone.

The ‘create a book’ button that appears in the print/export section of Wikipedia’s left navigation sidebar ensures that there’s no need to exit the website while creating a book. Customizing a book is simple enough with the ‘Add this page’ button and a cover image, title as well as editor’s name can be added for the final touch. Though PediaPress proffers only paperbacks currently, it has revealed plans to add hardcovers with color images in future.

“The service provided by PediaPress is an extremely important way of making sure that the free educational content of Wikipedia is available to all, everywhere, in areas with connectivity and without. Books made with the PediaPress service are a great asset to further the mission of Wikipedia: allow every single human being to share in the sum of all human knowledge,” elaborated Jimmy Wales, Internet entrepreneur and founder, Wikipedia.

The book creator allows users to preview the first 30 pages so that they have an idea of what is being ordered. Wikipedia hosts 15 million articles in over 200 languages and the number of English articles alone are claimed to be enough to fill up 5,000 encyclopedia volumes. The information is regularly updated and the articles have been written by volunteers from all over the globe, apart from being edited by academics, journalists and experts from various fields.

“When I came up with the idea, my colleagues told me my shower was probably too hot. But I was tired of reading on the screen. I believe that in this hectic age people cherish their offline moments more and more,” enthused Heiko Hees, managing director of Pedia- Press, Wikipedia‘s service partner for printing. “You wish you could access the most extensive and up-to-date knowledge in offline moments – on the train, at the seafront, in your bed. That is now very simple.”

The service has already been launched in 17 languages and books have been delivered to 33 nations. The books are readied for shipment within two working days and prices vary according to the number of pages with a starting tag of $8.90.