[Foundation-l] Bertelsmann publishes "Wikipedia Encyclopedia in One Volume"

Kul Takanao Wadhwa kwadhwa at wikimedia.org
Wed Apr 23 17:42:57 UTC 2008

I think that there are so many different ways to tackle the idea
of a printed version of Wikipedia and this way may or may not be
the best way...and there is only so much market research you can
do...especially when you are doing something that is outside the
standard publishing model. I think the German chapter did a lot
of investigation into the process and options, and sometimes we
have to just see how this goes and learn from it. It is so difficult
to gauge how content deals turn out (even for a reference book such
as this) so if your primary measure of "success" is the number
of units sold...then we will just have to wait and see. But with
this project in particular, there are several things we are trying
to accomplish so in some sense, several "successes" have already
been achieved. I am sure that even if this is a "success" as
defined by traditional publishing industry metrics, and if we
continue to do other deals like this, we will always try to improve
the next project and some of these other ideas may be tried as well.


Tim Landscheidt wrote:
> "Andre Engels" <andreengels at gmail.com> wrote:
>> One thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet in this thread is that by
>> taking only the introductions (which is indeed necessary to get
>> anything close to 50,000 articles into 1000 pages), Bertelsmann in my
>> feeling is removing most of the usefulness from Wikipedia. There will
>> be articles where that's okay, but there will plenty of articles which
>> are excellent in the current form, but become worse-than-trivial if
>> reduced to one-paragraph stubs.
>> I guess for Bertelsmann and for Wikipedia such a book would be ok, but
>> a reader would be more served with one volume out of a series of
>> books, each of them containing something like 1000 or 2000 complete
>> Wikipedia articles on some broad subject.
> If enough (potential) readers share your view, Bertelsmann
> will incur a loss and perhaps some of their competitors will
> take the opportunity.
>   The nice part of this deal is that unless you are a
> stockholder of Bertelsmann you do not have to worry about
> any of this.
> Tim
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