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Status last updated 19 August 2019.
Printed Wikipedia Books

Wikipedia namespaces
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Subject namespaces Talk namespaces
0 (Main/Article) Talk 1
2 User User talk 3
4 Wikipedia Wikipedia talk 5
6 File File talk 7
8 MediaWiki MediaWiki talk 9
10 Template Template talk 11
12 Help Help talk 13
14 Category Category talk 15
100 Portal Portal talk 101
108 Book Book talk 109
118 Draft Draft talk 119
446 Education Program Education Program talk 447
710 TimedText TimedText talk 711
828 Module Module talk 829
2300 Gadget Gadget talk 2301
2302 Gadget definition Gadget definition talk 2303
-1 Special
-2 Media

Contents

OverviewEdit

A Wikipedia Book is an organized collection of Wikipedia articles that can be sent to a third party service for rendering electronically in PDF format, or ordering as a printed book. The book is compiled afresh each time it is retrieved by the service, so that a new upload will always reflect the latest versions of the articles.

Each book has its own Wikipedia page, which contains a Contents list of the articles included in it together with formatting metadata such as Chapter headings. You can create a book as a sub-page in your own user space, or as a community book in the Book: namespace. The Book Creator tool automates much of the book design work, although experienced editors can still code up the book design by hand.

Once completed, a book can be uploaded to the independent company PediaPress, where print-on-demand copies can be ordered. Books may also be retrieved by other independent publishing tools such as MediaWiki2LaTeX. It used to be possible to build an e-book on Wikipedia for immediate download, but this service is no longer available.

For information and help on Wikipedia books in general, see Help:Books (general tips) and WikiProject Wikipedia-Books (questions and assistance).

Searching for booksEdit

You can look for books either by browsing the book categories or by searching for a title or topic.

Book categoriesEdit

Wikipedia books are automatically categorised by location.

Search toolEdit

The following code:

{{#tag:inputbox|
type=fulltext
prefix=Book:
width=40
break=no
searchbuttonlabel=Search
}}

creates a search box which will return a list of book titles.

The BookshelfEdit

The Bookshelf is a simple tool which combines the above options with a few statistics, enabling you to browse, search and view the Wikipedia Books created to date. You can place a copy anywhere by clicking the Edit tab above and copy-pasting the code from this page.

Bookshelf
Browse the book categories:
Search for books:

Featured and good topicsEdit

Featured topics and Good topics are collections of some of Wikipedia's best articles.

Some topics may have a dedicated book linked in the upper-left corners of the topic boxes.

HistoryEdit

Wikipedia Books was first rolled out in 2009. It comprised two main parts:

  • The Book Creator user interface, for designing the book and for selecting an electronic format to render an individual copy as an e-book.
  • The Offline Content Generator (OCG) back-end service, which rendered the book in the chosen format and made it available for download.

But Wikipedia does not print books or handle ordering, as that costs money. An agreement was reached with PediaPress, who built their own renderer and publishing website, where a user could upload a Wikipedia book and either download a PDF softcopy for free or order Print on demand copies. The free softcopy service was later withdrawn.

Eventually the OCG service became outdated and unmaintainable and was also switched off in 2017. Since then, Wikipedia books have only been available from third-party providers.

A candidate replacement, called Electron, was based on the open-source Chrome HTML-to-PDF rendering engine but proved unsuitable for books, although it replaced the OCG for the PDF download of single articles. A second attempt, named Proton, also failed at book rendering but succeeded Electron for article rendering in 2019. During this period Dirk Hünniger independently wrote MediaWiki2LaTeX, which also compiles Wikipedia books in PDF format. However the Wikimedia Foundation were reluctant to adopt it because they could not support the Haskell programming language in which it is written. It has since been improved and offered as an online service.

As of August 2019 the Book Creator design tool, MediaWiki2LaTeX softcopy rendering service and PediaPress print service remain available.

In April 2018 PediaPress stepped forward to try and develop a viable replacement PDF book renderer called Collector, based on their previous experience with their own in-house renderer. The new renderer is planned to provide limited initial functionality, with incremental improvements over time. As of April 2019 an alpha release of the core Collector service has yet to become usable. It is being developed as a closed source project. The WMF are also unable to support closed-source code owned by third parties.

See alsoEdit