[Foundation-l] PediaPress

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Fri Nov 12 05:06:32 UTC 2010

A bit of general background:

The Collection/"Book creator" feature allows managing, organizing and
exporting content in PDF and in OpenDocument (the latter is still very
buggy). We're planning to work with PediaPress to add OpenZIM support
(useful for offline readers like Kiwix); EPUB is a possibility. The
feature supports pulling specific article revisions, or the current
revision, and it has some nice features like automatic suggestion of
articles, easy addition of articles to collections while browsing,

Although PediaPress are the developers behind the feature, it's
completely separate from their services (providing printed books). If
PediaPress were to disappear tomorrow, we'd continue providing the
remaining functionality. In fact, at this point in time, uses of the
feature for digital offline distributions are more interesting to us
from a strategic point of view than print distribution. Because images
and other media quickly inflate any offline export, content selections
may often be the more viable method to create digital offline
distributions of WP content. The 1,400 selections already compiled
using the Collection extension provide a great starting point for
this. It's also conceivable to work with "validation partners" to
create trusted selections of content for schools etc.

We have a non-exclusive business partnership with PediaPress (a small
for-profit company) with regard to their provision of print services,
which is commission-based. From a mission standpoint, it's nice for
both our audience and our contributors to have the print options
available, which is supported by demand (about 2,000 per quarter --
we'll soon have a WikiStats report on book sales) and user feedback.
It can also be great outreach tool.

In fact, as Tim pointed out, the idea of printed selections is a very
old idea that very many Wikipedians have worked on over the years. The
goal of the relationship with PediaPress was to have an open toolset
that any and all efforts towards print or other export formats could
build upon. PediaPress has been a model partner -- they're
super-responsive, and interact directly with the community to service
all aspects of the technology.

I'm personally very pleased that the hardcover and color options are
now available. There are so many fantastic photos and illustrations in
Wikimedia projects that the black/white books really didn't do them
justice. It's certainly not for everyone, but for those of us who like
to show our family and friends what this whole Wikipedia thing we
spend so much time on is all about, it can be pretty awesome. Kindle
or not, a printed book gives a very tangible reality to our efforts.

Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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