New e-book export feature enabled on Wikipedia

We’re happy to announce that a new EPUB export feature has been enabled on English Wikipedia. You can use it to collate your personal collection of Wikipedia articles and generate free ebooks. These can be read on a broad range of devices, like mobile phones, tablets and e-ink based e-book readers.

Using an e-book to read Wikipedia articles has a number of advantages. Although mobile online access is becoming more prevalent, it is still not available everywhere. Think about situations when you are commuting or in the outdoors. Now imagine you live in a country where logging onto the Internet is a luxury and accessing Wikipedia is a challenge. Clearly this feature will be an asset.

“EPUB files can be used very easily in an offline environment” said Tomasz Finc, Director of Mobile at the Wikimedia Foundation. “They can be opened and distributed just like normal files. Plus, there are readers for almost every platform.”

Click the image above to watch an instructional video on the e-book feature

To create your personal e-book you have to activate the ‘Create a book’ link located in the left sidebar of Wikipedia in the ‘print/export’ section. Once activated, you can compile articles or complete categories into a personal collection and export them. Collections can be exported in a variety of formats like PDF, EPUB, or OpenOffice. You can also order a printed book via PediaPress, the official print-on-demand partner of Wikipedia.

EPUB is a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The EPUB export feature was developed by brainbot technologies, the company that created PediaPress and specializes in building tools for transforming the book industry.

“We wanted to make EPUB available for Wikipedia, because it became such a popular content distribution format” says Heiko Hees, CEO of PediaPress.

Try creating your own Wikipedia e-book and feel free to leave us feedback in the comments below or on-wiki.

Christoph Kepper, brainbot technologies

Categories: Features, Technology
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21 Comments on New e-book export feature enabled on Wikipedia

Alberto Pettarin 2 years

Hi Volker,

thank you, that is a reasonable solution, great!

I posted here just because I am not familiar with that tool, but I realize that I might have made your work less efficient by doing so. Hence, next time I will use the issue tracker.

Again many thanks for your time!

Alberto

Volker Haas 2 years

Hi Alberto,
using a 1 MB wikipedia logo is certainly insane. I had already replaced the png version of the logo with a jpg image – this reduced the filesize to rougly 200kB. I have just scaled down the logo to half its old size. The logo is now 80kB big and 944px wide – this should be fine I suppose.

Now to something completely different: I would appreciate if you’d use the issue tracker at github for (welcome) future suggestions/bug reports [1].

[1] https://github.com/pediapress/mwlib.epub/issues

pravin 2 years

Thanks for this great feature. Now I can use my basic java mobile nokia c2-03 to read Wikipedia articles. Its great and the interface is also easy to use.

Alberto Pettarin 2 years

Hi Volker,

sorry to be “that guy”, but I was just told that the generated EPUB files are all above 1 MB.

This is due to the Wikipedia logo (file name: wikipedia_logo.png ) whose size is 923 KB. For eReader purposes, this large size is unnecessary. Reducing it to 50% of the current size would be fine.

Thank you again for your great work!

Alberto

Alberto Pettarin 2 years

Hi Volker,

thank you for taking care of the two issues.

1) The “mimetype” problem should be fixed by your edit, thanks.

2) I see you created a new class in the CSS, but you still set the font size in the CSS, which is probably something that is not needed on eReaders, since the final user might adjust herself the font size. I would remove line 382 (font-size: 0.5em;) of wp.css altogether.

I take the liberty of adding that another interesting feature consists of creating a more structured TOC. If I am not wrong, right now the TOC lists the articles in the collection, but the subsections of each article are not showing up in the TOC. I suggest to add this feature, which might be extremely useful for the user.

Thank you for your time and keep the good work up!

Alberto

Volker Haas 2 years

Hi Alberto,
I fixed the mimetype file issue [1].
I have probably also fixed the text resizing issue for the metainfo/references stuff [2]. Since I have no webkit based reader I can’t test the “fix”.

Note that both fixes have not yet been deployed.

[1] https://github.com/pediapress/mwlib.epub/commit/32477c26bb014930c5830dba53add1306e7014ed
[2] https://github.com/pediapress/mwlib.epub/commit/03333db5b2bd28577853bab80a70f6565a8cba6a

Alberto Pettarin 2 years

My apologies, when I said “metadata file”, I actually meant “mimetype file”.

Alberto Pettarin 2 years

Dear Wikimedia team,

you are wonderful! Thank you so much for implementing this feature, and especially for adopting an open format.

Just a technical note: please observe that you have a newline character (0x0A) at the end of the content of the metadata file. You should remove it, per the IDPF EPUB standard. (Just run an EPUB validator, like EpubCheck or FlightCrew, for confirming the issue). And I second the request for adjusting the font size for references and sources, which are now set via a font-size attribute (300% for titles and 50% for the actual content).

Thank you for your excellent work!

Gof C. 2 years

You guys really made my day. I used to print several articles on papers stapled in different folders. It’s such a big relief that I can produce my own reference book now. Thank you very much for your open source service and endeavor.

Erik Moeller 2 years

Hi Sardrak,

If you’re logged in, you can (publicly) save your book. There will be a “Save and share your book” option below the “Download” panel. By default your book will be saved as a public page in the so-called user space. You can edit the book as a plaintext page as well, which makes it easier to make bulk changes.

I agree that a feature to add all links on a page would be great. This doesn’t exist yet, as far as I know. In case you didn’t notice, there’s a little shortcut to add a page when you mouse over a link with the book creator enabled. You can also add an entire category. Finally, in the book creator itself, there’s a “Suggest pages” feature that looks at the links from the pages in your book and gives you a list of suggestions based on that.

For tracking changes to a book, you need to first save it. After visiting a saved book, you can track changes to it by clicking the “Related changes” link in the sidebar (under toolbox). Try it for example on:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book:Finance

This won’t give you specifically the changes since last export, but you can keep track of individual edits to the articles contained in a book for up to 30 days using this method.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books for more info and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books/for_experts for expert guidelines. If you’d like to get involved in the development, see https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Collection , the relevant MediaWiki extension.

Sardrak 2 years

I love this, but the implementation needs some more work. I have added a bunch of pages for a topic I want to read about, but now I’m stuck. If i want to make another book, I have to delete the one I have. I would like to be able to save the book I have or even be able to export the list of entries and be able to import it later if I want to modify how the chapters work or modify the entry list, etc.

Other features I would like: the ability to add all links on a page to a book (its basically what I did manually). The ability to see what modifications have been made to all articles in my “book” since last export.

Sukant 2 years

Really Great…
I loved it , great work ..

Tpt 2 years

For Wikisource, there is an external tool, Wsexport, that already do it. https://toolserver.org/~tpt/wsexport/book.php

phillip 2 years

Very nice and easy to use
Would be better to save books to your account o. Could view them on any device easier

Neozone 2 years

Great !!!!!!!

Heiko 2 years

In case you have trouble watching the video on commons – you can also watch it here:

GalaxyCowboy 2 years

Yey, free media on the go, even offline.

Indranil Nandi 2 years

Great…thanks guys

Ombre 2 years

Hello,

Great feature and very useful!

I just have one problem on iPad: the fixed text size, this is a little bit small for me and I can’t change it. ;-)

Ombre

Pere 2 years

nice!
and what about wikibooks/wikisource support?

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