German publisher Bertelsmann has announced that they will be selling a stripped-down printed version of Wikipedia later this year. Wha'?
The idea is to use Wikipedia to capture the zeitgeist by selecting the most popular entries, Beate Varnhorn, the editor in charge of Bertelsmann’s reference works, said in an interview by telephone. “We think of it as an encyclopedic yearbook,” Dr. Varnhorn said, leaving open the possibility of new editions if the 2008 version is successful.
It won't be, but it's an interesting approach to take. Needless to say, not all of Wikipedia will be represented: the number being thrown around is 50,000 of the most popular entries. 4 of the top 10 German Wikipedia entries? "Penis", "Sex", "Vagina" and "Adolf Hitler." Sounds like a fun book to read. Unfortunately, these 50,000 entries will be stripped down to about 15 lines each, which certainly isn't enough space to print the bulk of Wikipedia's content: 4,000 word fictional biographies of anime characters.
Actually, that was just a joke, but come to think of it, wouldn't that be a better tack altogether? Use Wikipedia as your content source for the printing of themed encyclopedias aimed at certain niches. Wikipedia: Star Wars Edition is likely to sell a lot better in book stores than Wikipedia: Gimped Edition
A Slice of German Wikipedia to Be Captured On Paper [New York Times]