Wikipedia Launches Printed Books Order System

Wikipedia's launching a new feature for English readers: The ability to create custom books from Wikipedia's huge bank of free content. Because of the way Wikipedia's images and copy are licensed, they're free for anyone to access, use and share in this way.

PediaPress is a book publisher for wiki content; it's in a long-term business relationship with Wikipedia (Wikipedia) to print these books. PediaPress now offers paperbacks and will soon add hardcover books to its catalog, as well.

The price of each book varies, depending on the number of pages; paperbacks start at $8.90. Users can also simply download a PDF of the "books" they create.

The book-creating tools are built into the website. Starting today, users will see a "create a book" button in the print/export section of the left sidebar.

"When I came up with the idea, my colleagues told me my shower was probably too hot," said PediaPress Managing Director Heiko Hees in a release this morning. "But I was tired of reading on the screen. I believe that in this hectic age people cherish their offline moments more and more. 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."

Compared to other services that have attempted to tackle this problem, like e-readers, Wikipedia has the disadvantage of only offering non-fiction content and having content that can and does change periodically.

But PediaPress has two distinct advantages. First, content can be customized around any topic or topics the user desires. The ability to curate content is one of the hallmarks of the latest wave of digital creativity. Second, this medium is the absolute best for those who choose to spend time offline; you'll never need a power adapter or an Internet (Internet) connection to enjoy a book.

PediaPress is already up and running in 17 languages, serving 33 countries.

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