Wikipedia may be the saving grace of every hot-wings-and-trivia-night guru, but it can also be the damnation of high school biography paper writers everywhere. Known for its crowd-generated content and editable fluidity, Wikipedia is admittedly a brilliant at-your-fingertips web based information solution, even if its information has to be taken with a grain of salt.
But now, a company has decided to create a print book edition of all 20 million articles on the site, thereby proving that print and ridiculous ideas are not dead. There is even a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign afoot to help spur the completion of the estimated 1,000 print books that will comprise one set of the unabridged article collection.
What would drive someone to want to own 1,000 print books of user-generated articles on everything from famous people to rampant STDs? Other than a man already having the idea to print the German Wikipedia in its entirety, that is?
Actually, while the concept negates everything awesome about Wikipedia–namely, the ability to find something out at the tap of a few keys–it’s a really good marketing strategy for a service called PediaPress, the masterminds behind the behemoth print idea. PediaPress exists to allow users to generate print editions of articles they’ve collected on any given topic, helping them create their own print-on-demand editions of any articles they need. Ideally, no one needs all 20 million articles, but the service does exist to cater to these individuals.
Of course, the backwards nature of their crowdfunding campaign has brought a relatively obscure service publisher into the news, allowing more people to use the article aggregation service (while hopefully forgoing the entire collection and the shipping costs that would entail). After all, we’re talking about it now, aren’t we? PediaPress may have just touched on a brilliant marketing ploy that lets us feel superior as we mock their ideas, while still spreading the news about their much more limited service.