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Wikipedia to go book-based in Germany

Latest update : 2008-04-23

The internet-based participatory encyclopaedia Wikipedia may be printed in Germany as early as September, according to local publisher Bertelsmann. It first release would feature the 50,000 most commonly used search terms.

German publishing giant Bertelsmann said Wednesday it planned to publish the world's first reference book based on entries from Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.

Until now, Wikipedia was best known for compiling writing on thousands of subjects and putting it on the Internet for free and easy access.

A spokeswoman for the Bertelsmann Lexicon Institute told AFP the German-language volume would hit the market in September and includes the 50,000 most commonly used search terms of the last two years and abbreviated entries on them.

Because user popularity dictates the selection, the book's content will be more current than that found in other reference books, the company said.

It hopes a successful print version of Wikipedia will fly in the face of claims the Web is killing the traditional print reference book market.

"The Wikipedia encyclopedia will help allow knowledge to be spread worldwide and become more accessible," the publishing director at Bertelsmann Lexicon, Beate Varnhorn, said in a statement.

"The abridged, one-volume print edition will reach new target groups which will get to know the Wikipedia project and take part in it."

Wikipedia is user-edited, meaning that visitors are allowed to make changes to its online pages.

The site takes it on faith that people with accurate information will correct errors and misleading entries. The German version has a relatively strong reputation for accuracy.

The book is priced at 19.95 euros (31.85 dollars), with one euro from every copy sold going to the German chapter of Wikimedia, the non-profit group behind Wikipedia.

Date created : 2008-04-23