6 May 2010 marked the launch of the book tool on the English Wikipedia. Previously, the creation of Wikipedia books was limited to logged-in users because of scalability issues, but now anyone in the world can take collections of Wikipedia articles, arrange them into chapters, and get them delivered to their door by PediaPress, the official print-on-demand partner of the Wikimedia Foundation. The books come as A5 formatpaperbacks, and users are able to select an image and background color for the book's cover. The books ship within two business days, and start at US$8.95 for a 100-page book. The books can also be freely downloaded as A4 formatPDFs, as well as in ODT format, which can be printed at home and further edited. There are plans to make hardcover and color versions available by the end of August.
The service provided by PediaPress is an extremely important way of making sure that the free educational content of Wikipedia is available to all, everywhere, in areas with connectivity and without. Books made with the PediaPress service are a great asset to further the mission of Wikipedia: allow every single human being to share in the sum of all human knowledge
Whether you want to learn about climate change or you‘re seeking information about your new travel destination – reading long texts on paper is not old fashioned, it is more comfortable, plus it's plain smart: people read 10 to 30 percent faster on paper than on screen. And you have no distractions: no chats, no emails. On the web, people are skimming for information. But when reading on paper, they can take their time to tackle a subject in depth.
PediaPress released a new screencast for the book launch, explaining how to create books with the book tool.
Users interested in creating and maintaining "community books", that is books which can be edited by everyone (such as Book:Canada and Book:Messier objects), can join WikiProject Wikipedia-Books, which is a collaboration of editors who are interested in creating and maintaining Wikipedia books.
100 free books
To celebrate the launch of Wikipedia books to the world at large, PediaPress is giving away 100 coupons for free printed books. Each coupon has a value of $20 (USD) and will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis to editors who create a community book (books uploaded in the Book namespace). If the price of the book comes to more than $20, then a $20 discount will be offered instead. For the full details, see User:Headbomb/Coupons.