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Wikipedia Books Media News

Wikipedia Offers a Book Creator 89

Kilrah_il writes "Wikipedia recently added an option to create a book from your chosen entries: 'That's it, the book creator has gone live in the English Wikipedia! A few hours ago, the book creator has been made available to all users of the English Wikipedia. This feature, which allows all readers to create books from Wikipedia articles, has been until now only available to logged-in users. It has been available in other Wikipedias for a longer time, it's now available on the English Wikipedia, for all, without restrictions.' You can either download the book in PDF format for free or have it printed and sent to you via PediaPress with 10% of the total going to the Wikimedia Foundation."
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Wikipedia Offers a Book Creator

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  • DON'T PANIC (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It was inevitable.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

      It was inevitable.

      What is this "book" they speak of? Is that the old thing where each page is printed on one side of its own sheet of paper? What an enormous waste.

      I think I've got one holding the basement window open.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

      It was inevitable.

      What is this "book" they speak of?

      Is that the smelly old thing where each page is printed on one side of its own sheet of paper and then stuck together with glue from horse hoofs?

      I've got one holding open the basement window.

  • PDF books would be very useful. I could "print" them and put them on my phone for offline viewing, since I don't have a data plan. I'm not sure the point of books though, it seems to usually be cheaper to print it out yourself, though maybe a math reference book to always carry around might be useful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Exactly what I thought.
      There are a number of Wikipedia pages I reference a lot while working. Having them printed would be more convenient.
      It would be nice if you had expert-compiled article lists on specific topics, to make it easier to compile such a book.

    • Re:PDF Books (Score:5, Insightful)

      by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @06:32AM (#32137442) Journal
      I'm kind of suprised the only options available are PDF and ODT... would have been nice to see MOBI or EPUB formats, too, to make this more appealing to ebook users. Of course it's not hard to convert them yourself, just adds an extra step, and I'm not sure how well formatting will be preserved.
      • Maybe if you'd bought an e-book reader that supported PDF or ODT you wouldn't have had this problem in the first place.

        • Oh Snap! You told me!

          I have an ebook reader that supports PDFs, it's just that PDFs make crappy ebooks.

          Maybe there's some ebook reader that supports ODT, but I haven't heard of it. ODT isn't even on this table [] that describes file format support of various ebook readers.

          Epub, on the other hand, is a free and open standard. In any case, people interested in this topic should look into calibre, [] a cross-platform, open-source program that can convert practically anything to any ebook format (this would include,

    • "it seems to usually be cheaper to print it out yourself"

      It's not the printing that sucks, it's the binding.

  • by BigDXLT ( 1218924 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:23AM (#32136776)
    Should be a good way to kill 3 hours on a plane, don't you think? Just need some sort of script where all articles linked from some random topic up to a set depth (let's say 6, for traditional sake) are downloaded into the PDF.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:49AM (#32136872)

      6 might be a tad high.

      Say each article links to 10 other articles, and for simplicity we'll assume there are no circular link cycles (a very big assumption, but I reduced the expected number of links to help accommodate this).

      Then a depth of 6 means that you'll end up with 10^6 or a million articles, almost a third of the English wikipedia...

      Though you could probably develop a heuristic to reduce that a huge amount.

    • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:43AM (#32137026) Homepage Journal

      The "Add Whole Categories" feature might be a better way to go.

      Slightly OT: knew these people who owned a second hand book shop. One day this guy turns up in a Mercedes convertible. He is outfitting a new holiday house with impressive books and can they help him out? Of course they said yes, to the tune of thousands of dollars.

      So I wonder if there is a niche for printing and binding mass quantities of the wikipedia so you can line a wall.

      • There are actually companies that exist solely to satisfy that niche. You can buy small sets of impressive-looking books for a bit of small shelf space, an entire library, or anything in between. They print public domain books in impressive bindings - basically an upmarket version of Penguin Classics.
      • So I wonder if there is a niche for printing and binding mass quantities of the wikipedia so you can line a wall.

        Probably not. The folks who want a wall of 'impressive' books want hardbacks, leathers, fashionable/notable authors &/or titles, etc..., etc...

        Not cheap paperbacks.

    • Should be a good way to kill 3 hours on a plane, don't you think?

      Good? I'd say it's excellent.

      The other alternatives were peeling my skin off with tweezers and eating my shoes, right?

      • The other alternatives were peeling my skin off with tweezers and eating my shoes, right?

        Nah, you're not allowed to have tweezers. Someone might take apart a plane with 'em.

  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:46AM (#32136860) Journal

    Wikipedia is just following in the footsteps of Alphascript []

    • Has this been done before? From the "samplebook.pdf" (page 6) provided:

      [citation needed]

      I'd say it's never been done, at least not in any of the books I've owned. ;-)

  • link (Score:5, Informative)

    by dnwq ( 910646 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:46AM (#32136862)
    the book creator [].

    the Wikimedia press release []

    (note the date - yes, december 2007!)
    • Yes, December 2007, but then it was a first public beta, for registered users only. According TFA, now it's out of beta and open to all.
    • by xtracto ( 837672 )

      So, are there any interesting books already made? It may be a good idea if people start sharing pre-made books with coherent chapters.

      Also, I always wondered how difficult could it be to get an article wiki source, translate it to Latex and compile it into a PDF... If someone made a program that performed the 3 steps it would be easy to create a book from any wiki article in any language. Is there anything like that?

  • Ooh, ooh! (Score:1, Redundant)

    I'm gonna make ones of all the porn articles! No problem with that, right?

    • by wmac ( 1107843 )
      yes, you could. If you like.

      But i suggest you to visit a porn website instead. It is as easy as visiting wikipedia. BTW you need to install a PDF creator extension on your PC which is as smallas 2Mb.
  • But I'll defend to minor inconvenience their right to offer it.

  • Before you had to have a valid e-mail address to use this feature. Now you don't?
  • With the current proliferation of handheld computers (i.e. book replacements) this comes in real handy. I kept most of my books already as PDFs on my tablet. For webpages where previously I usually kept the Firefox tabs open with interesting Wikipedia articles (e.g. to read later during a flight) I can now save them (without worrying about thousands of little files clogging up my harddrive), which simplifies things quite a bit.

    Another advantage is that you instantly know how it will look like when printe
  • It has been available in other Wikipedias for a longer time, it's now available on the English Wikipedia, for all, without restrictions.'

    Run-on sentences at no extra charge, what happens if somebody writes "cuntbugger" in all the articles just before you print it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You wear out the 'u' and 'g' letters on your daisywheel printer?

    • I know this one!

      "By sending benign text to your proposed ebook and then replacing it at the last minute, someone can exploit your creation!"

  • I am the only one that thinks the PediaPress name is unfortunate and am I the only one that misread it at first?
  • by alanw ( 1822 ) <> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:40AM (#32137176) Homepage

    A month ago is was mentioned here that parasites were advertising on Amazon print-on-demand articles from Wikipedia []

  • hmmmm, books hey?

    So what do you guys think, are these "books" gonna be the next big thing? should I put my money into some form of book-com

  • Already done (Score:5, Interesting)

    by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:05AM (#32137228) Journal

    Sadly, this is already being done as fraud by These guys [], who have over 39,000 separate titles printed, all apparently just wikipedia articles bound with stock photos. It seems to be done by machine, given the amount of books and the odd titles and stock photos.

    And they're selling them for over $50 each, with no notice that they are just wikipedia articles!! I only noticed because I was searching for books on an obscure topic and found multiple books by this "author".

    tl;dr: DO NOT BUY BOOKS FROM Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, and John McBrewster

    • I'm not necessarily condoning their business model,

      But in two of the first four links from what you posted, there is a direct mention in the "Editorial Reviews" specifically stating that the content is from Wikipedia articles. Of course, the value of this "disclaimer" is predicated on the purchaser seeing that and still making a choice to purchase one of these titles, which may or may not be happening. And it doesn't appear to be there for all titles. But it is there for some.


    • DO NOT BUY BOOKS FROM Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, and John McBrewster

      What about Art Vandalay? Are his books OK?

    • by jonnat ( 1168035 )

      Although questionable, what they are doing seems not to be fraud if they inform the buyers that they are editors compiling Wikipedia articles.

      From Wikipedia:
      "All text in Wikipedia was covered by GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), a copyleft license permitting the redistribution, creation of derivative works, and commercial use of content while authors retain copyright of their work, up until June 2009, when the site switched to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-by-SA) 3.0."

      It appears to be jus

  • no epub? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:35AM (#32137624)

    PDF is crap for ebook readers. why not epub?

  • Wikipedia should make books on specific subjects, with an editor who knows the area, and then sell them on iTunes or iBook. The money would be a good way to support Wikipedia and their might be enough to even hire an expert to contribute to that subject or edit it.

    • by jonnat ( 1168035 )

      Good point! Because that's exactly what Wikipedia has been waiting for an opportunity to do: get their hands on some money so they can completely subvert their creation system and ultimately prove that their model is flawed, or at least limited.

      Joking aside, people have to start understanding that the collaborative nature of Wikipedia is not a transition phase to success that will allow them to morph into a traditional publisher. It is the core of Wikipedia and, frankly, I'm one who believes they've gone be

      • by mattr ( 78516 )

        Hello, thank you for the reply. I looked at the link. Yes, I'm familiar with the idea however when Wikipedia assembles a subject area into a book you get somewhat less than Wales' "sausage". Whereas evolution might work in a single page, evolution does not seem to replace an editor who can bring together multiple pages to make an understandable book. Perhaps there are not enough people willing to do it or who yet see the issue, and possibly they will appear once it becomes a more obvious problem.

  • Could someone make an algorithm book please and then share with the rest of us?

    Just grab the Algorithm category and all its subcategories - unfortunately it does not recursively descent to grab all pages by itself nor does it categorize into chapters so this will be a bit of work:-(

    When done, please share and post a PDF here, or if possible (even better) share the book so it can be printed and wikipedia can get its dues!


  • For ****'s sake (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The contents page in the .pdf does not even have clickable pdf-links. What irony.
  • Well, my Christmas and birthday present shopping just got a whole lot easier. I can give everyone I know a customized encyclopedia about where they're from, their ancestry, their interests, etc.

  • Periodically they take a snapshot of content from their site, on a particular region, clean it up, and then make a book.

    Then customers can buy the book (getting both printed and eBook) and take it with them on their trip.

    I would be interested in something similar from Wikipedia. For those of us who like to read non-fiction, a book of Wikipedia content (edited and cleaned up) would be worth something.

  • Ha! Now we can just make our own school textbooks on any subject we want. Take that Texas school board!

  • Sounds like a useful tool for teachers and homeschoolers. Not to useful for most school kids though. I know my grandchildren's school won't let them use Wikipedia for resources for their papers. :)

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