Wikipedia:Books

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A Wikipedia Book is an organized collection of Wikipedia articles. There are third party services for rendering electronically in PDF format, or ordering as a printed book. The book is compiled afresh each time it is retrieved by the service, so that a new upload will always reflect the latest versions of the articles.

As of 24 May 2021, the Book namespace has been deprecated per community consensus.

Overview[edit]

Each book has its own Wikipedia page, which contains a Contents list of the articles included in it together with formatting metadata such as Chapter headings. You can create a book as a sub-page in your own user space, or as a community book in the Book: namespace. The Book Creator tool automates much of the book design work, although experienced editors can still code up the book design by hand.

Once completed, a book can be uploaded to the independent company PediaPress, where print-on-demand copies can be ordered. Books may also be retrieved by other independent publishing tools such as MediaWiki2LaTeX. It used to be possible to build an e-book on Wikipedia for immediate download, but this service is no longer available.

For information and help on Wikipedia books in general, see Help:Books (general tips) and WikiProject Wikipedia-Books (questions and assistance).

Searching for books[edit]

You can look for books either by browsing the book categories or by searching for a title or topic.

Book categories[edit]

Wikipedia books are automatically categorised by location.

Search tool[edit]

The following code:

{{#tag:inputbox|
type=fulltext
prefix=Book:
width=40
break=no
searchbuttonlabel=Search
}}

creates a search box which will return a list of book titles.

The Bookshelf[edit]

The Bookshelf is a simple tool which combines the above options with a few statistics, enabling you to browse, search and view the Wikipedia Books created to date. You can place a copy anywhere by clicking the Edit tab above and copy-pasting the code from this page.

Bookshelf
Browse the book categories:
Search for books:

Featured and good topics[edit]

Featured article star.svg

Featured topics and Good topics are collections of some of Wikipedia's best articles.

Some topics may have a dedicated book linked in the upper-left corners of the topic boxes.

History[edit]

2009: Rollout[edit]

Wikipedia Books was first rolled out in 2009. It comprised two main parts:

  • The Book Creator user interface, for designing the book and for selecting an electronic format to render an individual copy as an e-book.
  • The Offline Content Generator (OCG) back-end service, which rendered the book in the chosen format and made it available for download.

But Wikipedia does not print books or handle ordering, as that costs money. An agreement was reached with PediaPress, who built their own renderer and publishing website, where a user could upload a Wikipedia book and either download a PDF softcopy for free or order Print on demand copies. PediaPress later withdrew their free softcopy service.

2017: On-wiki PDF withdrawal[edit]

Eventually the OCG service became outdated and unmaintainable. It became unreliable, while bugs and evolving security issues could no longer be fixed. The Wikimedia Foundation turned off the book rendering service on all Wikimedia wikis in October 2017. Since then, Wikipedia books have only been available from third-party providers.

2017 ff: Candidate replacements[edit]

A candidate replacement, called Electron, was based on the open-source Chrome HTML-to-PDF rendering engine but proved unsuitable for books, although it replaced the OCG for the PDF download of single articles. A second attempt, named Proton, also failed at book rendering but succeeded Electron for article rendering in 2019. During this period Dirk Hünniger independently wrote MediaWiki2LaTeX, which also compiles Wikipedia books in PDF format. However the Wikimedia Foundation were reluctant to adopt it because they could not support the Haskell programming language in which it is written. It has since been improved and offered by the WikiMedia Foundation (WMF) as an online service.

As of August 2020 the Book Creator design tool, MediaWiki2LaTeX softcopy rendering service and PediaPress print service remain available.

In April 2018 PediaPress stepped forward to try and develop a viable replacement PDF book renderer called Collector, based on their previous experience with their own in-house renderer. The new renderer is planned to provide limited initial functionality, with incremental improvements over time. As of April 2019 an alpha release of the core Collector service has yet to become usable. It is being developed as a closed source project. The WMF are also unable to support closed-source code owned by third parties.

2019: Links hidden in articles and sidebar[edit]

In December 2019 English Wikipedia suppressed the rendering capability of Template:Wikipedia books (related =Template:Book bar & Template:Books-inline) and removed the Book Creator from the sidebar after a community discussion about effectiveness.

As the Book Creator no longer generates copies of Wikipedia books, its primary working feature directs users to order printed Wikipedia books from PediaPress, a third-party company which has a longstanding agreement with the WMF. Editors in discussion valued the user experience of Wikipedia readers over the business prospects of PediaPress and felt that the template and sidebar link were no longer justifiable.

The namespace and its transclusions were retained in the hope that the WMF would come up with a solution. As a result of then-anticipated future solutions, template transclusions were not removed from articles. See Suppress rendering of Template:Wikipedia books for more information.

2021: Deprecation of Book namespace[edit]

As a result of a village pump proposal, article and template transclusions to Wikipedia books are deprecated.

Due to Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2021 April 7#Template:Wikipedia book, Template:Wikipedia books and related templates were deleted in April 2021 and all of their transclusions were removed.

Due to a similar Village Pump proposal, the entirety of the Book namespace was deprecated as of 24 May 2021.