While doing some random surfing last night, I stumbled upon a new tool in Wikipedia that I didn’t know existed (but has been around for a couple of years).
You can create books (both print and e) of selected Wikipedia content.
The Wikipedia book tool is located in the left hand navigation of Wikipedia under Print/Export. Click the create a book link, activate the book creator tool and you can start compiling pages in Wikipedia.
As you go from page to page, you will see a new toolbar at the top of each page prompting you to add this page to your book.
Once you are finished, click Show Book where you can add a title and rearranging the articles.
Once you have the book tweaked as you like, you can then output & download to EPUB, PDF, OpenDocument, or OpenZIM (a format I am not familiar with), or send a copy to a print on demand service called Pediapress which, for a small fee, will print and ship you a physical copy of the book.
I gave it a try and in about 5 minutes had created a very simple ebook containing the biographies of the current Canadian mens national soccer team (sigh we came so close this time) and the current state of our national soccer program. Here is a Canadian soccer primer from Wikipedia in PDF (yikes – 13 meg) or ePub (1.6 meg) format.
Video on how to create a Wikipedia ebook.
After I tweeted this, Alan Levine & Scott MacMillan replied to me and pointed out that UBC has this feature set up on their wiki’s as well.
Turns out, there are extensions for any MediaWiki site that can enable instant, on the fly publishing ebook format.