Shipping your books ever faster in Germany

In our constant quest to offer a better service, we've been working hard in the past few months to extend our international presence and make things easier and faster for you. We have secured new partnerships with printers in Europe, which allow us to deliver your books in record time.

The first one of those partnerships to come into play is in Germany. As of yesterday, we're working with a local printer. This will allow us to offer you a Deutsche Post Shipping Service for a mere 0.85 €. Shipping times within Germany will be between between 1 and 3 business days. You also get an express option, which secures delivery within 1 to 2 business days.

It's holiday time, and it's time for you to get busy and make those books you've always wanted to offer your friends and family! In Germany, you now have until the 18th of December to prepare your custom books and make sure they get to their destination on time!

For other countries, please refer to our Shipping FAQ for more information on shipping prices and times.

(Image: © KMJ, License CC-BY-SA 3.0, Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Custom Covers For PediaPress Books, Finally!

Today is a great day. Today is the day when we say hello to custom covers for PediaPress books. Today is also a sad day, because we say goodbye to our old but beloved orange and blue covers. We've loved them, we've hated them, well, they have been part of our story, they have been the face of PediaPress for the past two years. We'll miss them, but we felt that we needed to give you the opportunity to make covers that really would adapt to the books you were making. After all, custom books should feature a custom cover, right?
What is a custom cover?
Well, it's very simple really, instead of having a set cover for your book, you have now the possibility to compose the cover that suits your book's content, your mood, or the occasion.

Once you've collected your book, on Wikipedia for example, and you've clicked the button "Order as a printed book", you'll be taken to the PediaPress Website and will land on the custom cover manager.
The first step is to choose the color of the background you want for your book. You can try out a few color schemes.
Once you've chosen your background color, you can add a picture to your cover. At this stage, you have the possibility of adding pictures present in the articles that compose your book. The pictures will display in a row under your cover, and you can scroll right and left to choose the picture you want. The cover manager only displays pictures that are of a high enough quality to look good on your cover (excluding very small pictures or pictures of low resolution). Of course, we want your book to look as good as possible.
And that's it, once you've decided that the cover and the pictures were the right one, all you have to do is order, and you will receive your book just as you've designed it. Take a look at the books we've already made!
Have fun exploring the possibilities of the new custom cover manager! And as always, don't hesitate to give us feedback on this new feature by clicking the feedback button on the right of our website or by commenting this blogpost!


One Day At The Frankfurt Book Fair

It is actually the second time that PediaPress is present at the Frankfurt Book Fair, we were there last year, and it's nice to be back.

As always, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the biggest of its kind in Europe, is impressive. Really. The sheer magnitude of it is something you have to see once in your life. Around 7000 exhibitors from 100 countries [1], scattered around 10 or so exhibition halls, it is huge. From Comics to Art books, through Education, and Gutenberg knows what other topics, the Frankfurt book fair is an event that gathers thousands people from around the world around one passion, books. Books in every form and shape, ebooks, paper books, panorama books, strange books, great books and of course, Wikipedia Books.

It is always interesting to see what attracts people to our booth. Some know about us and just come and visit, wanting to find out more about what we do. Others are drawn by the word wiki in our tagline "wikis in print" and make the direct connection with Wikipedia. Some again are just excited by amazing variety of titles on display (from New York City to Weimarer Republik and somewhere in the middle Body Modifications or The Solar System).

It is in any case always great to observe how people react to books made from Wikipedia articles. You have the cautious, who wonder if those books "can be quoted, because, after all, they're from Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is not an authoritative source". They represent the old line of caution between online and offline distribution, nothing new there, and some truth in it too. Others who just find this "so cool! I can really make any book I want, with all the articles I find interesting?" "Yes you can." They are the enthusiasts, discoverers and early adopters. Those then who think Wikipedia books should be in every single school on the planet. I like to call them idealists, with a bit of utopia on the side. Those finally who come up with cool ideas of new books to put together. They are the creative and fun. In short, from the cautious to the eager and fans, we get to see a lot of different and interesting people. Not enough Wikipedians though, we hope to see more in the days to come!

On the stand we can show you our new cover designer, which we'll make public in a few weeks and which will allow you to customize your book cover, and we do fun demonstrations of how the new version of the booktool works. We also have coupons to distribute, so you can get a discount on your next book. We're in Hall 4.2, stand G413. Come by and visit!

[1] Der Tagespiegel 13/10/2009


Create Books Easily: New Version of the Book Creator is live on Wikimedia Projects

Last week, the new version of the Book creator interface has been deployed within the Wikimedia projects. We are very excited about this new step, it's a bit like a new start for books on Wikimedia projects.

Bringing Wikimedia contents offline

The Book creator is now deployed on many Wikimedia projects, and we're still working at making it suitable for all languages and all wikis. On most wikis, it is available both to anonymous readers as well as to logged in users. You access the Book creator by clicking the link "Create a book" on the left sidebar. On the English Wikipedia, it is available to logged-in users only at this stage (unless you know the direct link to start the book creator ;-)). For those who don't know, the Book creator (technically: the Collection extension for Mediawiki) allows readers to very simply browse a collection of their favorite articles and bring it to print, be it in PDF, ODF or in a real printed book. A good way to bring Wikimedia contents offline. The new version of the Book Creator is much more practical. Let's face it, the previous version was a bit geeky in its implementation, not exacty a model of usability (scrolling down to add a page, anyone?) and also not very sexy (all text and no images). The new version implements several features in a much nicer and much more practical way.

Easy to see, easy to use

The Book creator is easy to reach: when you start it by clicking in the left sidebar, it is displayed as a box at the top of your articles. The box stays while you are browsing articles, allowing you to add pages easily. You can also display the state of your book at any time and add chapters, or reorganize articles.

Add pages quickly and easily

The Book creator now makes adding pages to your book very easy with a whole set of improvements.
  • Once the Book creator is started, you just need to click the link "add an article" at the top of the article to well... "add an article" :)
  • Add a whole category to a book in a breeze. Simply browse the category and the "add article" link will change into an "add category". Clicking it will add all the articles in that category (note: at this stage, the book creator will only accept a maximum of 200 articles from a given category).
  • You can also add a page by simply hovering above an internal link, clicking on the link shown in the popup that appears. This speeds up the collection process by enabling you to add articles without having to open them.

The Creative Feature: Suggest pages

The Book creator now gives you ideas to make great books. The new version introduces a new feature, called "Suggest pages". When you have added at least one article in your book, clicking on the wizard wand in the Book creator box allows you to let the tool suggest articles to add to your book. The "suggest" features uses the links and the frequency of keywords associated with links in the article, and with some normalization and magic calculations, it will give you a list of articles which might be interesting to make your book more complete. Try it. Start a book with your favorite article, click the suggest article link, and let the tool take you in creative directions you might not have thought about!


Tell Me What Books You Read, I Will Tell You Who You Are

In a BBC article titled "What does your Bookcase Say About You?", Siobhan Toman reviews the reasons why people have books and most importantly, what they do with them.
Apart from the fact that books may rest your eyes from the computer screen, they also have tremendous social value. Ever since the printing press has been invented, displaying books would show not only
how very learned you were - you could read - but they were also very expensive. At one throw, you proved your intellectual and monetary value.
says Ms Geddes-Brown, author of Books Do Furnish a Room.
The author points out that whatever may have been said about how the rise of the internet and the plethora of content available through websites would be the end of the printed book, it is being proved wrong everyday. Online availability of texts have not in the least defeated the power of printed books, on the contrary. We at PediaPress are of course convinced that printed books have a great future and that they help knowledge being passed around and withstand time.
So going with the idea that our books say something about us, I went and had a look at the Billy bookcase in my living room. On the middle shelf, I found, in no particular order:

  • A set of French classic poetry paperbacks (Saint John Perse, Baudelaire...)
  • A book on Tolkien's world
  • A book on a North Pole Expedition
  • An Encyclopedia of the MGM
  • A book on Dolphins
  • A book on Wine
  • The Devil Wears Prada and some other airport reads
  • A book on ''Praktische Typografie''
  • One of the seven volumes of Harry Potter
  • Four or five history books, as well as Tocqueville's ''De la démocratie en Amérique''
  • A few French classics (Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant etc.)
  • A book about how to start your own company
  • Some Fantasy books (excellent Trudi Canavan) and some Science Fiction
What does that tell you about me? And what are the books on your shelves? We're curious, reader, we want to know you better ;-).


New additions to the PediaPress team

As you may have read in our previous blog post, we have been looking for someone to help us with marketing and communication, as well as with assisting users in the various Wikimedia projects.

The position is now filled and we are happy to announce that Delphine Ménard ([[User:notafish]]) and Gaëtan Landry ([[User:Headbomb]]) are joining the team as of today.

Delphine is a long time Wikimedian and has worked for the Wikimedia Foundation as Chapters Coordinator. She currently sits on the board of Wikimédia France as treasurer and is still very much involved in chapters activities. Delphine has a long experience with marketing and communication agencies. She also organized three of the five Wikimanias (the international Wikimedia conference). Living near Frankfurt she will be able to visit us at the office. Delphine will mainly take care of marketing and communication, starting with the Book Fair in Frankfurt.

Gaëtan has been a contributor in the English Wikipedia for a year and a half and has about 35.000 edits to his name and participates in many Wikiprojects. He is a student in Physics at the Université de Moncton in Canada. Gaëtan will focus on making sure that everything is ready in the English Wikipedia for the deployment of the Collection tool's new version. Further, he will work closely with the editors to grow the catalog of community created Wikipedia-Books.

Both Delphine and Gaëtan will work part-time for PediaPress and will assist users and collect feedback in the various Wikimedia projects.

Welcome to them!


Hiring - Community and Communications Assistant

This job matches the predominant skills of Wikipedians. It involves developing projects within wiki communities as well as content creation.


  • Supporting English wiki communities and helping them to make creative use of the book tool and the PediaPress service
  • Assisting users and responding to their questions via email, wiki talk pages, and real-time chat
  • Testing new features and creating corresponding help pages and tutorials
  • Representing PediaPress and working to improve user satisfaction and community relationships
  • Writing blog posts & website text
  • Spreading the word about Wikipedia-Books

About you

You should have a passion for wikis, wiki communities, free content and books. You should be fluent in written English and bring the skills to create interesting and eloquent texts.

The ideal candidate should have experience working in wiki communities, be self-motivated, organized, reliable, proactive and goal oriented. MediaWiki markup and templates should be well understood.

This is a part time position and you'd work remotely. If you happen to live around Mainz, Germany you are of course invited to join us in our office.

For more information please send a mail using our contact form.


Do programmers still buy printed books?

In a recent blog post Antonio Cangiono (Technical Evangelist at IBM) reasons about whether programmers still buy printed books. This is a good question as coders are usually no more than a Google search away from the documentation they need. There is close to zero coding related knowledge in books that one could not find online. So the question is not about the content but rather if you are willing to pay for the medium.

Antonio writes:

I spend long hours working and staring at the computer screen. A printed book is a chance to take a break at night, and let my eyes rest a little. I find it refreshing. And let’s face it, for extensive reading, paper is much easier to read from than the screen.

Likewise, when I’m holding a book or have it open on my desk, I’m in “book reading mode”, which makes it far easier to immerse myself in it. This means that I’m focused on the task and can proceed quickly. The only context switch that happens is between the book and the editor/shell, if it’s the kind of book that warrants typing along. If you are reading a book in a browser tab, it’s very easy to think, “I’ll just check my email for a second”, or introduce similar distractions. I’m sure I’m not alone in this respect.

No, he is not alone. The PediaPress team is with him and so are most of the commenters on his post.

Viva Wikimanía

This year's Wikimania was held during 26th–28th August in Buenos Aires. Johannes and I returned last week and and brought two suitcases full of motivation and fresh ideas with us.

Videos of Wikimania presentations are available on Wikimedia Commons, including the keynotes, the many scheduled panels, the lightning talks, and Richard Stallman's speech from Tuesday, before the conference started. The full schedule provides video links to most of the talks and sessions.

I held a presentation about the MediaWiki book tool and our service. It focused on on our past experiences and future developments such as the new UI, custom covers and the imminent launch on the English language Wikipedia.

Bibliográfika – the largest digital printing company in Argentine – sponsored the production of 200 PediaPress books, which were picked up quickly by the attendees. A big thank you to Bibliográfika for the sponsoring!"

The venue in Buenos Aires featured plenty comfortable spaces that allowed to socialize and have inspiring chats. We collected a lot of feedback and suggestions for our service. Notable discussions were about the deployment of the new user interface, publishing Wikipedia books based on the Wikipedia Version 1.0 project and PediaPress as a tool for students.

Kudos to all of the organizers of the Wikimania 2009! And now we are looking forward to next year's Wikimania in Gdańsk!


PediaPress @ the Frankfurt Book Fair 2009

PediaPress will be exhibiting at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, from October 14th–18th, 2009. We will be at our booth G413 in hall 4.2 presenting our service pediapress.com. We hope that you will be able to drop by to join us either for a meeting, a talk or to view an online demonstration of our service. We are looking forward to your visit!


New: Shipping Options and Discounts

We are happy to announce that PediaPress now offers more shipping options. For orders to the USA we now support a cheaper option (USPS MediaMail), and for orders to the European Union we now offer a really quick premium shipping option (UPS Europe).

Furthermore, a discount is given if more than one book is ordered:

  • If you order two books, you'll get a total discount of 10% on those books.
  • If you order at least three books, there is a discount of 20% on all books.

More requested features to come soon. Stay tuned!


German Screencast: “Gedruckte Bücher aus der Wikipedia”

Creating a screencast has been on our todo list for a long time and we are happy that we finally managed to release it. We plan to release an English version soon.

The video is covered by the CC-sa-by 3.0 license and was produced in cooperation with Henriette Fiebig (thanks a lot!).


Six more Wikipedia languages!

PediaPress is now live on the Dutch, French, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Simple English language editions of Wikipedia! Here's the official announcement of the Wikimedia Foundation.

And the PediaPress.com website is now available in French, too. If your browser is configured accordingly, you should be automatically greeted in French. Otherwise you can switch the language in the select widget at the bottom of each page.


Busy times in Mainz

During the last weeks, we had quite a bit of (positive) stress here at the PediaPress headquarters: As reported, the PediaPress integration has been deployed on the German Wikipedia Thanks a lot to all Wikipedians who helped us improve our service with their constructive feedback!

And a big thank you to all the pioneers who ordered PediaPress books from our website! We had only minor technical problems, and most of the orders were handled flawlessly. But there's one thing that's causing a bit of a headache: The processing and shipment of orders currently takes longer than the 3–4 days we promise. We are in negotiations with our manufacturing partner to solve these problem as quick as possible. In the meantime we apologize to all of our customers who have to wait longer for their books!


PediaPress is live on the German Wikipedia!

As of last night it's become very easy to order PediaPress books from the German Wikipedia, which is the second most viewed language edition of Wikipedia: The Collection extension has been enabled for all users. German readers may want to have a look at this help page.

Erik Möller (Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation) posted an announcement on the Wikimedia blog.

We are happy and excited about this change and we hope that many people will try out the new feature!