- Wikipedia now lets users generate e-books from its content
- Multiple encyclopedia articles can be added to a single book
- The site says the books will be helpful for offline, mobile reading
Wikipedia this week created a new feature that allows readers of that online encyclopedia to create their own e-books with its content.
The "EPUB export feature" makes it easier for people to read free encyclopedia articles on their mobile phones, e-readers or tablets when they don't have a connection, Wikipedia said in a blog post on Monday.
"EPUB files can be used very easily in an offline environment," Tomasz Finc, mobile director at the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a written statement. "They can be opened and distributed just like normal files. Plus, there are readers for almost every platform."
To make your own book, sign up on the site's book creator page. Once you do, a green button will appear at the top of Wikipedia pages asking you if you want to "add this page to your book." More than one encyclopedia article can be added to a single e-book.
The blog The Next Web points out that this idea may seem bizarre at first. But writer Emil Protalinski says the feature has potential.
"Personally, I would love to be able to access Wikipedia while on the subway, and this new addition is a decent way to do that, assuming I know what I want to read in advance," the blogger wrote.
"In countries where Internet access is still very rare, not to mention mobile devices are the only devices, this won't be seen just as a feature of Wikipedia. It will be Wikipedia."
The e-books can be distributed after users create them.
"Collections can be exported in a variety of formats like PDF, EPUB, or OpenOffice," Wikipedia says. "You can also order a printed book via PediaPress, the official print-on-demand partner of Wikipedia."