Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wiki Madness

What on earth do you want to print copies of Wikipedia for?

As soon as you transfer the first page to print, its out of date. As the print is bound and the copies shipped, it becomes more out of date. By the time a customer has bought it, it is definitely out of date.

Although Bertelsmann are only going to print 25,000 of the most popular pages on German Wikipedia, it makes no sense. At just under 20 euros the one volume, initial 20,000 print run is set to go on sale in September. The questions are who would buy it and why?

Perhaps it’s relatively free content, with Bertelsmann reporting to be paying, one euro a copy for using the Wikipedia name in the title. Perhaps Bertelsmann get the copyright to reuse the content and avoid those 90K authors that they would have had to normally pay. Perhaps it’s just a gamble to see if customers are daft enough to pay for something that was conceived to replace what it is – abridged out of date material. Perhaps it’s approaching Frankfurt and someone dreamt up a way to get publicity at any cost.

Whatever, it clearly is summer madness!

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