Publisher Plans to Put All Wikipedia Articles Into Print
April 11, 2014
PediaPress, a German publisher, aims to take the virtual encyclopedia Wikipedia and print it in a colossal 1,000-volume set of hardcover books. PediaPress has begun fundraising for the project through the Indiegogo crowd-funding site saying, “We all know that Wikipedia is huge. The English version alone consists of more than four million articles. But can you imagine how large Wikipedia really is? We think that the best way to experience the size of Wikipedia is by transforming it into the physical medium of books.” The complete set is slated to be unveiled first at the Wikimania conference in London this August.
The project has met with criticism. In an NPR piece, geek.com blogger Lee Matthew said, “This is not an idea I think is good. I understand from an artistic standpoint what they are trying to show. I think, though, that the beauty of what Wikipedia is gets lost when you try and print it… Trying to put something like [this] that is constantly evolving into a print form doesn’t work for me.” Matthew also points out a concern for the amount of paper used on the project. Pediapress, however, is planning on planting trees to make up for the paper use. This makes others feel more supportive of the project.
“I totally get it. I am imagining us teaching kids in the future about the history of the Internet,” said BetaBeat blogger Jordyn Taylor, “and how are we going to go back and show that what it looked like in the 1990s and 2000s?” Along those lines, PediaPress thinks of the project as a period piece and would like to find a permanent home to display the books once the London conference is finished.