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German Wikipedia To Be Published As a Book

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the unclear-on-the-concept dept.

Books 184

David Gerard writes "Bertelsmann is to publish a single-volume book of the German Wikipedia in cooperation with Wikimedia Deutschland. It will cost 20 Euros, and 1 Euro from each copy will go to Wikimedia. They're editing down the most popular 50,000 articles for the 1,000-page book, to be released in September. Because of the open-source origin of the material, the publisher cannot claim copyright in the book." The German-language Wikipedia is second in size only to the English version, which has 2.3 million articles.

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184 comments

Why Freeze A Living Thing? (3, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167130)

When I was working at IMDb.com [imdb.com] (the Internet Movie Database), I asked Col Needham (the founder and managing director) why they never released it as a book. His answer was that the database was constantly changing. With the lead time you had to give for the actual printing, by the time any book hit the shelves, it would be months out of date.

I think Wikipedia falls victim to the same problem. It might be a very good book and they might select the most stable entries, but like IMDb, Wikipedia is a living, breathing thing that grows and changes on a regular basis. In fact, that's part of its appeal. A book is basically just freezing a snapshot of selected articles in time, but how much does something where part of its value is in its dynamic nature lose from being frozen like that?

- Greg

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (5, Insightful)

harmonica (29841) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167182)

Obviously, this book isn't for those with net access everywhere from their work place to their living room couch. There are still a lot of people without any net access, for that matter. This book with its emphasis on popular topics which may not be covered in your other tree-based encyclopedias could be useful for all those without access to that living thing. After two or three years, at the price of 20 Euros, people can get the new edition of the book to catch up.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167188)

Wikipedia is a living, breathing thing that grows and changes on a regular basis.
Uh, it also requires an internet connection. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where we have electricity always and internet 99% of the time.

Apparently they think that people in Germany would like to have a hard copy. I'm certain my grandparents (who read tons but do not have a computer) would be interested in a $40-50 edition of this book.

Or even, you know, the local library.

There's a reason we put things into hard copy. It's so that we always have them. Might be a waste of trees, also might be a great idea if the world has an unfortunate energy crisis looming ...

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167668)

Apparently they think that people in Germany would like to have a hard copy. I'm certain my grandparents (who read tons but do not have a computer) would be interested in a $40-50 edition of this book.

Or even, you know, the local library.
Dude, you just mentioned two things that are obsolete: your grandparents and the local library.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169258)

Libraries obsolete ?

The best place for free internet access is my Local Library ....

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167838)

There's a reason we put things into hard copy. It's so that we always have them. Might be a waste of trees, also might be a great idea if the world has an unfortunate energy crisis looming ...
We could always burn the books in that case.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (2, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168136)

"Might be a waste of trees, also might be a great idea if the world has an unfortunate energy crisis looming ..."

Is it that expensive (in energy terms) to manufacture most of the means of storage such as HDD and flash? Even so, the energy involved with producing a library of congress versus storing one on HDD would be in favor of the HDD.

The methods of reading are getting smaller (read: use less energy in the manufacturing) and less power intensive to run. At the moment, the only problem with the miserly power consuming PCs is putting up with slower speed. That will change over the next ten years as technology improves.

Not to say that paper isn't useful. Barring fire and bugs, failure is fairly graceful and very slow as opposed to digital. But I'd be surprised if the energy crisis caused us to dispense entirely with digital.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168714)

yes but the full chain of research and production that was needed to get to the HDD needs a lot more energy than any library. that was his point: if something were to happen to the industry and market that enables the use of computers and we go back to the 19th century it's always good to have some simple way of retrieving knowledge like books. that's what happened in the middle ages, the romans were overwhelmed with barbarians that didn't care for their knowledge and it took us 1000 years (or more if you want) to get back to the same level of civilization. imagine the frustration of the people 30 years from now if they lose electricity and they get to lose any knowledge about how anything works although they have it all on pieces of metal that they can't use. after the current population dies, they're gonna go back to the middle ages.

in short: i trust books more than computers.
/*doomsday theory over*/

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167234)

I see your point, but on the other hand, new movies are always being created and thus the filmographies of all the people involved are constantly changing. Unless you restricted the print-form to solely those entries of actors etc. who had passed on and made it essentially a film history book, you're necessarily putting a short window on its relevance.

Whereas with Wikipedia, while further edits are certainly possible, there's nothing actually new happening wrt say the Expressionist Movement, or Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Juniper Bushes. If the article as it stands is good and essentially complete, then it isn't inherently a bad idea to capture it and put it in a fixed format. There may be further edits that improve the article, but that's not so different than a future edition of a print encyclopedia, and in fact if the print version takes off then there would almost certainly be such.

So while it is true that making a print version of Wikipedia loses some of the inherent appeal of the WP, it also makes a lot more sense than a print version of IMDB, and could actually be a useful and cheaper alternative to other print encyclopedias which never had that dynamism to begin with.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169200)

Whereas with Wikipedia, while further edits are certainly possible, there's nothing actually new happening wrt say the Expressionist Movement, or Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Juniper Bushes. If the article as it stands is good and essentially complete, then it isn't inherently a bad idea to capture it and put it in a fixed format.

People also still buy newspapers, which only have yesterdays news each and every day.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (5, Insightful)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167236)

No reason to worry. Wikipedia will continue to live and breath, just as your cat, child, or spouse continue to live and breath when you take a snapshot of them. A snapshot might not be completely up to date, but it can be much more convenient than having your cat, child, or spouse on your desk or in your pocket everyday.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167660)

Yes, and history is a series of snapshots. We used to consider Pluto a planet. Atoms used to be solid spheres. Disease could be cured by draining out the bad blood. Next week I'm guessing eggs, red wine, and chocolate will be good for me (again).

Conventional Wisdom is all we have, and all we ever will. Why preserve it? To preserve it.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167672)

My cat just died you insensitive clod!

eBook? (1)

neurolux (1150083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168552)

I'll just wait for the eBook to come out.

I may disagree (4, Interesting)

adam (1231) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167252)

Apprehensions about Jimmy Wales' character aside, my main gripe with Wikipedia is that I am suspicious of everything I read there. Mostly this stems from the fact that in any topic on which I am an expert, I can generally stumble across several very glaring errors. Of course, reading topics on which I am not an expert, I find myself to be generally entertained and educated-- provided that I don't think about the likelihood of errors in those articles. I will grant that the errors usually don't take away from the overall education that a novice would receive.

With a staff editing the articles for content, fixing some of the more glaring errors, and selecting the more stable articles, I think a Wikipedia tome will nicely bridge the gap between meatspace and cyberspace. Keep in mind, not everyone has Internet connection at all times, nor is Wikipedia guaranteed to be functioning 100% of the time.. DNS errors, routing problems, etc.. they all occur. The last couple of years, have begun an interesting transition of merging between various forms of entertainment and education. It's no longer divided into books (paper), tv/radio (static electronic entertainment), and Internet (chatting, web forums, other forms of dynamic entertainment). You have tv shows producing extra content for web playing, you have individual content publishers using youtube and other outlets to publish stuff that would never otherwise have an audience, you have radio shows (NPR, etc) offering podcast downloads, you have paper books also being published electronically (Kindle, Googlebooks, etc), and now you have an electronic encyclopedia almost ironically making the jump to paper edition.

Call me an old fashioned geek, but I like paper, and given the chance, I'd buy a Wikipedia print edition.

Re:I may disagree (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167298)

Apprehensions about Jimmy Wales' character aside, my main gripe with Wikipedia is that I am suspicious of everything I read there.

That's a good thing. The fact that WP's nature makes you inherently suspicious means that you have the correct mentality when reading it, as opposed to say Britannica which naturally tends to have an air of authority about it when in reality you should be equally suspicious of what you read there.

Mostly this stems from the fact that in any topic on which I am an expert, I can generally stumble across several very glaring errors.

How many of them would seriously damage the understanding of a layman browsing the subject? As in, they're not trying to actually put what they read into practice, but are trying to gain a general and basic knowledge set?

I remember reading through aforementioned Britannica when I had a copy in my parents' home years ago, and finding quite a few errors in the computer-related articles. But like a lot of the errors I find on WP, they're mostly factual errors of some minutia which while clearly false wouldn't actually matter much unless you were for some reason depending on them to re-create what the article is talking about.

Which you should never do, whether it's WP or EB.

Re:I may disagree (2, Informative)

Zibblsnrt (125875) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167824)

How many of them would seriously damage the understanding of a layman browsing the subject? As in, they're not trying to actually put what they read into practice, but are trying to gain a general and basic knowledge set?

Spending some time trawling the Hellenistic parts of Wikipedia a few years ago, this [wikipedia.org] was the current incarnation of the article on Philip II Philomaerus. Not only would I say that qualifies as pretty fucking seriously damaging a layman's understanding of the subject - compare it to the current version - but it was stable in that form for seven months.

Re:I may disagree (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168676)

This is from 2004!
Not the best point to make, considering that back then this article might not have been read more than a handfull of times during those months.

Re:I may disagree (3, Insightful)

Lapsarian (1073104) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168154)

I sincerely hope that when you read topics upon which you are an expert and find they contain flaws you edit them accordingly.

Re:I may disagree (1, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169078)

I sincerely hope that when you read topics upon which you are an expert and find they contain flaws you edit them accordingly.
Oh, nice Utopian theory. In practice it's not so simple. What if you are an expert on something a cabal is protecting? Or something an admin wrote? Until Wikipedia removes the admins and distances itself from Jimmy Wales, there's always going to be problems with the Truth.

For example: Wikipedia just got a sizable grant from a Foundation. On the board of that foundation sits people from General Motors. Let's say you have expert knowledge and cited proof of problems with GM cars. What do you honestly think your changes of getting that info correctly on Wikipedia are?

Re:I may disagree (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169266)

Or what if you're a bad writer or you consider things as fact that are disputed by others (e.g. if you're a religious fundamentalist you'll consider anything your religion says fact)?

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167510)

It's OK. They instructed the printer to leave very large margins.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167648)

That's kind of redundant. Any non-fiction book will be at least partly out of date by the time it is published. However, it is a good record of knowledge at the time the knowledge intake was frozen. And it would nevertheless be a very useful resource, especially for those that prefer reading on paper as opposed to using a screen. Also there are many people who find information more reliable simply because it is in a book rather than being on the interwebs. The fact that it originally came from the interwebs probably wouldn't reduce the psychological effects making it appear to be more trustworthy data. Not only that, but there are still a lot of people who have never heard of Wikipedia. The book would most likely help raise awareness, and hopefully garner more editors into the real Wikipedia.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

corifornia2 (1158503) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167704)

dieses ist nicht gut!!!

Sorry, its the only thing I recall from my german class in high school. Just figured I'd put it out there.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

cashdot (954651) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168788)

Notice, that snapshots of the German Wikipedia are also available as E-Books since quite some time, see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unterwegs [wikipedia.org]

I always have a copy on my mobile phone. It's not up to date, and the version that I have does not have any images, but it is very convenient nevertheless. In most cases, where I do not sit in front of a PC, the advantages of having it local on my mobile outbalance the disadvantages of the frozen, imageless state.

I think a paper copy also have benefits when compared to the real thing.

Re:Why Freeze A Living Thing? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169232)

That's kinda like Linux distros which can be found on shelves too.

5% too low... (4, Informative)

adam (1231) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167144)

I didn't see a reference [in linked article] to percentage of sale paid to Wikimedia, but found one here [yahoo.com] . My kneejerk reaction is that if only 5% of the sale price ends up in the pockets of Wikimedia: that sounds a little thin to me. The article does note that a staff of ten was required to edit the articles for content and length, but it still sounds like the publisher is profiting perhaps a bit more than normal off of the work of others. And knowing that many people will likely purchase the reference to support Wikipedia, it would be nice to see around 10-15% gross sale returned to the author (or, in this case, to Wikipedia).

My ballpark of "10-15% of gross" comes from the fact that although I am not in the literary world, I do work in entertainment (aka: cinema), and it's common for DVD producers to receive between $1.50 and $4 on each sold copy. On two of my films I receive around $3.50 after each wholesale transaction (when a chain retailer buys copies at $12/each wholesale to sell for $19.99 on their shelves). The second film in question was offered distribution to WalMart, and because of the bulk they buy in, the deal with them was closer to $1.50. (In the end, for artistic reasons that had to do with creating a specially "WalMart-friendly" edited version, we passed on the WalMart deal). I wonder if someone in book publishing can speak to whether the numbers I'm used to from video publishing are generally commensurate? I don't know what the cost-of-goods-sold for books is, so perhaps it's substantially high enough that it pushes authors' margins to a fraction of what they are in video publishing, but my kneejerk reaction is that 5% is too low.

Re:5% too low... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167220)

But if you wanted to, I believe you could do the same thing and give more to Wikimedia. I believe that is the point of having the rights open to anyone. Make a better layout with content that is provided and make a better product, if you want to.

5% higher than required. (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167300)

My kneejerk reaction is that if only 5% of the sale price ends up in the pockets of Wikimedia: that sounds a little thin to me

My kneejerk reaction is that if nothing is required to be contributed back to Wikimedia, then 5% is awesome!

Remember wikipedia's content is licensed under the GNU FDL [wikipedia.org] , which states:

The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially.

Re:5% higher than required. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167810)

You have a good point. But if the publishers were not committed to donating back a percentage of the sales to Wikipedia, do you think anyone would buy the book? They could create a lot of goodwill by giving a more healthy percentage. But, yeah, something is better than nothing at all.

Re:5% too low... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167320)

One thing I know: German Government will pocket 1.40 off each book sold.

Re:5% too low... (1)

DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168702)

Errm... 19% (VAT) of EUR 20.00 is EUR 3.80 ($6.07).

Maybe you should buy the book? They might have some good [wikipedia.org] reading for you [wikipedia.org] :-)

Re:5% too low... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168826)

(wasting moderator points)

The parent is correct. Books have a reduced VAT of 7% in Germany, thus the 1.40 figure is right.

Re:5% too low... (1)

schoschie (1006039) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168888)

They were not talking about the VAT, but about the fact that 1 EUR of the sales price is going to go to Wikimedia. 1 EUR of 20 EUR is 5%.

Re:5% too low... (1)

schoschie (1006039) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168926)

Oh. He *was* talking about the VAT. My bad.

Re:5% too low... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167346)

The difference will go to expense dinners and hotel rooms for those that run the site. It's the Wikipedia way!

Re:5% too low... (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168404)

That's not fair - they are cramming 50,000 articles into 1000 pages. What this means is that most of the "articles" in the book are heavily cut down- i.e. *edited* by someone. Wikipedia in a book form hasn't been done before for that obvious reason - there is simply too much information in too much space. Putting it into a concise form truly is a skill worth paying for.

Besides, isn't the whole point of open and free (something I thought Slashdot stood for) that anyone can freely distribute the collective work? When I put time into editing Wikipedia, my main goal is that as many people as possible can benefit from what I do.

Re:5% too low... (1)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168982)

In the UK, and a fair amount of the rest of the world, the book retailer takes up to 50% of the cover price. Smaller independent bookshops will take 30%: Waterstones, Borders and the big boys will demand 50% to let you put your book in their shops. If you want your book to be on a display, the publisher pays even more.

The author will take between 5-8% as royalties.

The rest of the take goes to the publisher, who has to pay the printer (eventually), staff and business overheads, marketing, etc.

Even with advances in technology such as short-run digital printing, Computer-to-plate, PDFs etc, most publishing meetings consist of decisions to turn down books simply on the fact that there's no money in it.

Citing (5, Funny)

jeffy210 (214759) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167176)

So does this mean you can cite wikipedia as a valid source since it's in print! (yes, i'm joking)

Re:Citing (5, Informative)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167378)

Who cites an encyclopedia? It's not a primary source. It doesn't matter if it's electronic or print, but this is one of those long standing annoyances with the "zomg you can't cite Wikipedia!" folks. Of COURSE you can't cite it, it's an ENCYCLOPEDIA! Citing encyclopedias becomes unacceptable once you pass the 5th grade.

I know you were joking, but someone modded you INSIGHTFUL for crap's sake. +3 Funny, sure! But modding it up as insightful suggests pretty strongly that my mean ol' response here is appropriate.

Re:Citing (1)

lawrenlives (991376) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167544)

Don't think of it as the paper version of an online (German) encylopedia. Just think of it as 'Uncle Johann's Bathroom Reader'.

Re:Citing (3, Informative)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167666)

You realise that modding as funny doesn't give the poster any karma. Modding as insightful does... that's the most likely reason someone modded it as such.

Re:Citing (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168326)

OK getting off-topic here.

A moderator should not care about the karma of the author. If a post is funny, mod it funny. That's what it is. And whether the poster gets karma or not that's not up to the moderator to decide.

Re:Citing (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168688)

Not perfectly true anymore.

Wikipedia is different than standart excylocpaedieas: It goes way mroe in depth.

Physics articles, for example (as one i can gauge), are often way deeper than even college-level textbooks, touching same lighter review papers.

Its no longer true that just because its in an ecyclopaedia, its "general knowledge" and thus free from reference requirements.

Re:Citing (1)

genericpoweruser (1223032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167602)

I've found a way around the "zOMG you can't cite Wikipedia! ANYONE CAN EDIT IT!!1111eleven!" mentality of some professors: simply use Wikipedia's citations (after reading them and deciding they're worthy). That way you can still take advantage of Wikipedia's usefulness but have a supposedly more reliable source (and without the stigma of Wikipedia on your "works cited" section).

Wait (0, Redundant)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167186)

Who are they going to fact check against? Wikipedia?

Most Popular Articles? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167212)

If they go by popularity in terms of the number of visits, I'm guessing that the entries like 'breast' and 'lesbianism in erotica' are very likely to make the final cut. But will it include all the pictures?

Re:Most Popular Articles? (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167356)

If they go by popularity in terms of the number of visits, I'm guessing that the entries like 'breast' and 'lesbianism in erotica' are very likely to make the final cut. But will it include all the pictures?

If you're going to talk about breasts, at least include clickies: Breast [wikipedia.org] & lesbianism in erotica [wikipedia.org] .

Both of those articles are NSFW & fascinating examples of the more subtle form of wiki trolling that seems to be becoming more prevalent.

Re:Most Popular Articles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167808)

If you're going to talk about breasts, at least include clickies: Breast & lesbianism in erotica.

Both of those articles are NSFW & fascinating examples of the more subtle form of wiki trolling that seems to be becoming more prevalent.

I couldn't. I'm at work, you insensitive clod!

Re:Most Popular Articles? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168960)

I can't see either of those being NSFW. Maybe the second one if you were a bit prudish I suppose.

Keep it digital! (-1, Troll)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167232)

Printing the German wikipedia on paper with all those long words is a waste of a forest. Forests may not be cute polar bears but they deserve protection.

Re:Keep it digital! (1)

genericpoweruser (1223032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167614)

Not to mention the age old argument "you can't grep dead trees."

Re:Keep it digital! (1)

corifornia2 (1158503) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167756)

There is no tree shortage. Trees aren't being hunted to extinction like whales, but instead are being farm-raised, like carrots. There are way more trees in the US than there were at the beginning of the 1900s because of these techniques.

Should I stop eating carrots because of the looming carrot shortage?

Undercut, Profit, but what about the tree(hugger)s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167256)

So anyone can publish the same (or similar, or improved, or lighter, or more sustainable - recycled paper?) book, charge a slightly lower price, sell it in the same market, and profit!

Given the general community behind the content, would seem appropriate to print on recycled paper, or do whatever else passes as green publishing these days. Wait - isn't that what publishing online is about, saving trees? Hmm ...

Fifty articles on each page? (4, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167280)

How on earth is that going to work, cramming 50,000 articles into 1000 pages? They could edit each article down to a single paragraph and you'd still need a magnifying glass to read it.

Re:Fifty articles on each page? (3, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167394)

Plus most of the popular pages on the English wikipedia are about busty "actresses" and sex positions. If the German wiki is anything like that, the pictures are going to be too small to enjoy.

Its all in the editing (4, Funny)

Tmack (593755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167860)

How on earth is that going to work, cramming 50,000 articles into 1000 pages?

Earth: Mostly Harmless

Tm

Re:Its all in the editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167896)

Or, more relevantly

Erde: meistens harmlos

Re:Fifty articles on each page? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168496)

I was wondering about that. 50K articles in 1K pages implies 50 articles/page, or about a single line for each "article". Thats not a encyclopedia -- that's a dictionary, if that.

Someone must've misunderstood something somewhere, because that can't be right.

This is amazing (2, Funny)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167296)

It's going to be self referential! By the time the 50k articles get picked out, there will be an article on the book and hopefully the book will contain the article on itself! Sweet!

I see potential in this as *not* an encyclopedia (5, Interesting)

BlueStile (1257910) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167316)

Rather than publish the X "most popular articles," I think a more fun compilation would be a collection of the most unique, un-Encyclopaedia Brittanica articles on Wikipedia. Things that would never have made it into a real encyclopedia before the web, but that have flourished on Wikipedia. Or, along the same line, anything that showcases it as not just another encyclopedia would be cool. I'm sure there's some other cool ideas out there. (P.S. - My first ever Slashdot post!)

Re:I see potential in this as *not* an encyclopedi (1)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167600)

The German Wikipedia is currently ranked 2nd according to the wikindex.com [wikindex.com] , but the fascinating part is what other popular wikis are out there: the World of Warcraft wiki is huge, beating many euro language wikipediae; TV show wikis are big, as are online games and sexual collections.

I guess my point is that I agree with you: the interesting thing about wikis is the non-standard collection of ideas, no matter how "non-important" or esoteric they seem to the general public.

Re:I see potential in this as *not* an encyclopedi (1)

BlueStile (1257910) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167722)

The German Wikipedia is currently ranked 2nd according to the wikindex.com [wikindex.com] , but the fascinating part is what other popular wikis are out there: the World of Warcraft wiki is huge, beating many euro language wikipediae; TV show wikis are big, as are online games and sexual collections.

I guess my point is that I agree with you: the interesting thing about wikis is the non-standard collection of ideas, no matter how "non-important" or esoteric they seem to the general public.
Bingo!

One "side-wiki" that I frequent is the Lostpedia [lostpedia.com] . Package that with the season DVD box set and you've got a whole new kind of product.

Re:I see potential in this as *not* an encyclopedi (1)

Venti (613003) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168694)

Rather than publish the X "most popular articles," I think a more fun compilation would be a collection of the most unique, un-Encyclopaedia Brittanica articles on Wikipedia. Things that would never have made it into a real encyclopedia before the web, but that have flourished on Wikipedia.

You mean like redicilously detailed descriptions of every episode of Arrested Developement [wikipedia.org] . In the main wikipedia namespace like this episode [wikipedia.org] . I forget what episode it was, but pretty recently while searching for something, I ended up on the wikipedia page for a freaking single episode of a tv series instead, with a similar name to what I was searching.

Now I love wikipedia precisely because of this kind of obscure information. I remember reading an article about "which is the most powerfull character in the Dragonball Z universe" and it pisses me off when some obscure article that I found is being deleted because it's not important enough. But for every single episode?

Oh, great. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167386)

A book that contains 50,000 poorly cited articles about David Hasselhoff.

Re:Oh, great. (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169030)

A book that contains 50,000 poorly cited articles about David Hasselhoff.
And doesn't mention the War. Because it can't -- legally.

Re:Oh, great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23169180)

Hey, we still like David Hasselhoff over here in Germany!

Don't Panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167408)

The words 'Don't Panic' should be printed on the cover. Hey, it's a start.

I can't wait... (5, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167450)

...for some troll edit to end up getting into the book. I hope they edit it really well and carefully read through it all.

"Rammstein is a German band that was formed in kyle is a big fag, Germany. They..."

Re:I can't wait... (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167536)

"Rammstein is a German band that was formed in kyle is a big fag, Germany. They..."

I have to admit, reading your post was the first time I've ever felt the temptation to vandalize a Wikipedia article...

And for some reason, I can't help but feel that among those who would want to buy a Wikipedia book, this factor will only increase the appeal.

Re:I can't wait... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167578)

Id buy an enlish edition version, just to add paged they deamed not-notable,
that and add a criticism section to mac_os_x i mean, windows has a whole page!

Re:I can't wait... (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168332)

As expected... [wikipedia.org]

Re:I can't wait... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169042)

...for some troll edit to end up getting into the book. I hope they edit it really well and carefully read through it all.
Troll edits are no big deal, they are obvious and no-one is fooled by them. The problem is the "editing" done by admins and the cabals. The subtle changes to reality, the minor manipulations. There's more truthiness on Wikipedia than there is on Fox News.

Wikipedia: the encyclopedia anyone can edit -- as long as Jimbo and his admins let you.

Re:I can't wait... (3, Funny)

atrocious cowpat (850512) | more than 5 years ago | (#23169060)

Actually Rammstein was formed in Kyleisabigfag, Germany. The members of the band would rather have the general public not know this, so whenever this bit of information pops up on wikipedia they mobilize their mindless metal-minions towards another edit-war (DER GRÖSSE EDIT KRIEG)... or so someone would like to have you believe.

Technically it's just Hans-Peter Gümpel, a 14-year old student from the suburbs of Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, who simply can't stand the idea that his favorite DEUTSCHE-TÖT-METALL-ROTZ-KREÜZÜBER-BAND stems from the idyllic town of Kyleisabigfag (Thuringia). Kyleisabigfag, incidentally, is worldwide renown for its floral clock and the biannual Käse-Fest, where the locals let milk go stale for weeks on end, and then have a party about it by rolling the resulting cheese to the nearest train station.

P.S.: The rest of Germany is actually rather embarrassed by the antics of RAMMSTEIN, and would like to apologize in all due form. We know how, and why this happened, but what with censorship on one hand and pseudo-fascist prancers on the other... it was kinda impossible to prevent. Basically you had us coming and going, so we felt we'd just let them do their thing and be ridiculed by the world. Didn't quite work out that way, so sorry, again.

1 euro to wikimedia... (1)

Ryukotsusei (1164453) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167458)

So where does the other 19 euros go? Unless they're planning to print on gold paper, publishing costs can't be that much.

Re:1 euro to wikimedia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167496)

what are you, a communist ? it's not east germany

Re:1 euro to wikimedia... (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167814)

Is there a Godwin's Law equivalent for communism? It seems like it has the same effect in discussions.

Think of the Children (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167472)

I can't vouch for the validity of these article stats [stats.grok.se] , but they do appear to be legitimate.

Based on these top viewed pages, any book published using "popular" articles as a reference would be banal, amusing, and surreal. All at once.

You've got the all-time favourite internet searches "sex" and "naruto" along with recent political events, blockbuster movies and games, internet sensations and memes (2g1c, for example).

you want money for (2, Insightful)

textstring (924171) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167498)

wikipedia w/o hyperlinks? no thanks. or does it come with a box of bookmarks?

Re:you want money for (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167710)

Maybe it has things like this:

Team New Zealand<sup>[p136]</sup> lost the Americas cup to Alinghi<sup>[p136]</sup> twice[1]

Same sort of reference cite numbers, but another superscript'[p#]' for page number hyperlinking ;)

ps. I am well aware that <sup> tag shows, it is meant to ;)

In the nature of wiki (1)

kylehase (982334) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167608)

Anyone can edit their volumes with the included white-out and ball point pen.

New technology required first (1)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167642)

Most of the 95% of the cover price is going into research into a new printing technology.

To keep the spirit of wiki alive in this tome, it'll be printed in pencil and be sold with an eraser and a pencil for readers to edit the articles as they wish.

Can I still edit/add articles? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167658)

Does it have some blank pages at the end of each article, and some blank pages at the end of the book? I want to know that I can still edit/add articles to Wikipedia.

I'm OK with a snapshot of Wikipedia, but... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167684)

... why a hardcopy? One of the greatest appeals of Wikipedia is its searchability and linking. You can take a snapshot of Wikipedia and put it on a CD or DVD - save a tree or two and have a more useful version of the information. And still accessible to those without Internet connections or when Wikipedia is down.

Moderator population: 0 (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167700)

When I want to edit, do I have to cite?

Wow, 50.000 Naruto and Family guy articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23167792)

No comment

Defamation? (1)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 5 years ago | (#23167796)

I won't bore you with a detailed explanation [bghelsinki.org] of German defamation laws, but they are far more restrictive than the laws in the USA.

While online websites sometimes avoid defamation by quickly changing defamatory comments before they cause much damage, a published book does not have the same ability to be wiped clean in an instant.

What is to stop someone maliciously creating a defamatory article about themselves, waiting for Wikipedia to be published, then suing the company that produced the book?

I think it would be a brave publisher who would cede control to the millions of Wikipedia contributors.

Re:Defamation? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168696)

Because _somebody_ will read every word they will print at least once?
Thats the "editing" part.

Not to mention that a "maliciously created defamatory arcticle about themselves" would be hard pressed to get into the popular article range...

Nope (1)

tidewaterblues (784797) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168022)

Because of the open-source origin of the material, the publisher cannot claim copyright in the book."
Actually, that is completely wrong. The publish can't claim copyright on the book because they don't own the original copyrights and are making no effort to acquire them, because there is no need to. The original copyright holders still have their copyrights, and if someone could track them all down and get them to agree to it, they could, in theory, sell the copyright to the publisher, and dual license wikipedia. Of course, the publisher does own the copyright on any edits and corrections they make to the text. This does not, however, release them of the obligations that they have toward the license of the original source material.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23168034)

Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of peer review? Now people can look at the obviously fallacious claims, and not do anything about it but complain that wikipedia is even more untrustworthy.

Clearly, the subtitle will be (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168128)

The subtitle will be [citation needed] ;-)

The book may be new, the snapshop idea is not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23168152)

I've seen snapshots of Wikipedia being sold on DVD in German supermarkets (e.g. Aldi). But I guess this is the first time they sell one as a book.

Math must be in error (2, Insightful)

duh P3rf3ss3r (967183) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168336)

Editors will distil 50,000 of the most popular entries in the German version of Wikipedia into the 1,000-page volume to go on sale in September.
How in the world do they intend to fit 50'000 articles into a 1'000 page book? 50 articles per page -- what is that -- like one line per article?

Sounds Good... (1)

dbolger (161340) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168742)

...as long as they don't include any articles about Harry Potter [cnn.com] ;)

Deletionism (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168750)

So, will this give the deletionists an excuse to go on a rampage, deleting articles they deem unworthy of being included in a dead-tree book ?

"This article is unnotable because it doesn't happen to interest me. Wikipedia is a real encyclopedia, not a collection of random facts, and we can't endanger our chances of getting published by including anything that Encyclopedia Britannica wouldn't. Besides, I'm in a bad mood and a little power trip might cheer me up."

Mod me troll if you will, but it's still true. The Deletionist Scourge will use any excuse. That's why I don't contribute to Wikipedia anymore: there's no point when the most likely result is to have said contributions deleted because Joe Powertrip hasn't heard of the subject previously.

The only thing it says on the cover is DON'T PANIC (1)

camomilk (1038262) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168874)

In nice big friendly letters

Why I (as a german) hate the german Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23168950)

I love Wikipedia. I believe it's a great boon to research and general knowledge -- if used correctly (i.e.: used as a kind of filtered Google-search, and as an initiator for further research -- but always to be questioned for the integrity of its data).

However, what really puts me off de.wikipedia is the tone (or: style) most of the articles are written in. Sophomoric gushing, sentences without end, wanton cruelty to the common comma (thanks T.P.)... these (and many more) insults to language in general, and scientific language in particular are to be found in almost every article.

You say that en.wikipedia is just as bad? Well, I cannot speak for everyone, but to this near-native reader there still is that blissfull transcendence of tackyness by translation: even the most ludicrous or cheesy constructs of the english language will sound sweeter than their actual meaning when translated into any old-world (roman) language while reading.*

A.C.

P.S.: Felle free to mok any grammatticcal or speling errors in this post -- I most definately deserve that! Inability to apply language, however, does not prevent one from noticing errors in other people's application of language (at least that's what I've experienced so far). Besides how gut is your German? Mock me again, when it's as bad as mine (und ich spreche die blöde Sprache seit ca. 2 Jahren nach meiner Geburt).

* Don't know about indo-chinese laguages though... my guess is anything becomes even sillier, but no one cares, and they like to party with words. And who could blame them?.

A good thing (2, Insightful)

schoschie (1006039) | more than 5 years ago | (#23168978)

It's a good thing for Wikipedia. A lot of people are media-conservative in the sense that they don't take Web content seriously, particulary an encyclopaedia that is written by volunteers. Example: I wanted to prove a point to my dad a while ago using a Wikipedia article, and his reply was essentially "that article has no value and cannot be trusted as it was written by people hanging around on the Web". A printed book made by a real, large and well-known publisher might change this attitude, especially of those people who think Web content is worth less than printed content.

Also, I'd expect it to push Wikipedia contributions and the overall article quality. If people may expect to see their work in a printed book hopefully sold in large numbers, it will motivate them to contribute higher-quality content to Wikipedia. You can go to a book store and tell your friend: hey, look, I wrote some of the stuff in this article!

On the downside, I agree with those who wonder how they will fit 50K articles into a 1000 page book. 50 articles per page will mean one short paragraph per article on average. It's not possible to represent the nature of Wikipedia content in a space that small. Most articles will have to be edited down to the kind of content you would expect in any conventional (printed) encyclopaedia.

Also, I wonder how much Bertelsmann will benefit from this deal. 1 EUR per book for Wikimedia is not exactly generous. On the other hand, we can expect to see this book prominently on display in most every book store. If they sell 100K copies, Wikimedia will get 100K EUR, which means a lot to them.

Okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23168980)

I don't need a paper version, and I donated exactly the price of the book to Wikimedia earlier this year.
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