In our series "What kind of book can I make with PediaPress?", here is our second installment. There is one "book" that comes back again and again in the books that our users make, the Birthday Book. Not a book about Birthdays, no, but a custom book for someone who's dear to you and who you want to surprise with something a bit out of the ordinary (I've found that as we get older, surprising gets more and more difficult). People have gone out of their way to make books that reflect the "Birthday person"'s life, in one way or another.
We've seen different kinds of "Birthday Books". The first one is a book that retraces what happened in the world during someone's life. The editor chooses an event for each year of someone's life and puts all of these events together in a book. Wikipedia makes this rather easy as it provides lists of notable events per year. See for example all that happened the year Wikipedia was born, 2001. Browsing the different years of someone's life, you can choose important events or people to add to your collection and make your custom book. It's a rather nice an interesting way of looking back at the years gone by. I am sure none of us remember the events that happened during our life quite in the same way.
Another idea is to make a book that gathers all the events that happened on the day the person was born. If we stick with Wikipedia, we could gather all the events that happened on January 15th across the years. This would range from the crowning of Elisabeth I in 1559 in Westminster Abbey to the launch of Soyuz 5 by the Soviet Union in 1969 to the landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009. Quite an amazing scope in events.
Last, but not least, there are people who simply put together a book with the topics that interest the Birthday person, or have to do with their life. It is always difficult to buy the right book on the right topic, especially for someone who's interested in a lot of things. Wikipedia provides such a range of articles on every subject that it becomes fun to put together things that have no apparent link to each other except from the fact that they all have a link to one person. My Birthday book would probably gather such disparate subjects as Languages, American cinema of the 1930s and 1940s, Open Source and Photography, Carcassonne and Languedoc Roussillon to cite just a few. So topics range from what the person has studied to the places they were born, they have studied or spent their holidays to their hobbies and professional interests.
In the end, the great thing about Wikipedia and PediaPress in the "birthday context" is that they open a range of infinite possibilities to make a Birthday gift that your friends or family shall never forget, and to which they can go back anytime they want.