Today I have the pleasure of unveiling Wikitravel Press (WTP), an independent company that will publish printed guidebooks based on Wikitravel content.
The model is simple: text and images will be selected from Wikitravel, combined, abridged or changed by (paid) editors, published on demand and shipped anywhere in the world. This means that Wikitravel guidebooks will have up-to-date and reliable information, eliminating the infuriating years-long gap between research and publication that inspired Wikitravel itself.
Wikitravel Press is a commercial venture, owned and operated by Jani, Michele and Evan. Internet Brands has licensed the Wikitravel trademark to the company, but is not managing and does not own the company. Books will be sold at competitive prices (typically US$10-20 plus shipping and other fees), initially through the Web and later through other channels. Per the Wikitravel copyleft, the books themselves will also be subject to the same Creative Commons license as Wikitravel Web pages, so they can be copied and reused freely. Wikitravel Press will hire book editors to assemble relevant destination guides, abridge or expand them, and make final copy-editing and fact-checking tasks. Where this work coincides with the Wikitravel manual of style, they'll contribute that work directly back onto wikitravel.org.
Book editors may be existing Wikitravellers with exceptional domain knowledge and language and research skills; they may also be professional editors or freelance travel writers. Book editors will be held to a strict code of conduct in their interactions with other Wikitravel community members. They will not have any extra authority of any sort on the website. In particular, they don't get "final say" on any article.
On related Wikitravel destination guide pages, there will be non-intrusive links to the wikitravelpress.com site to buy a copy of the book that includes that guide. As usual, input from the community will be an important part of the process in determining the placement of these links.
Our expectation is to begin shipping the first titles in the Wikitravel Press travel guide series in Fall 2007. Our initial books will be pre-assembled; typical books will be city guidebooks, regional guidebooks, and country guidebooks. Our first books will be in English, but we hope to quickly provide guidebooks in other Wikitravel languages. In the future we hope to provide "ad hoc" books, so you can assemble a guidebook from several different destinations.
Our goal with this announcement is to solicit community feedback on the plan. What are your expectations for a guidebook based on Wikitravel content? What would you consider acceptable and unacceptable conduct by a Wikitravel Press book editor? What kind of guidebooks would you be interested in? Jpatokal 21:03, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
DerFussi -- thanks to the CC by-sa license, I can make a printed guidebook from Wikivoyage content, sell it and take all the money. Does that make you my slave? I'll answer my own question: no, it doesn't, because the whole point of open content is that it can be freely reused.
Of course we'd love to give away books for free, but printing physical books on paper costs money, print on demand is expensive and we just can't compete with Let's Rough Planet's 100,000-copy print runs on price. Instead, our advantage will be that we're much, much more up-to-date than "traditional" guidebooks.
Those Wikitravellers who opt/are chosen to be editors — and make no mistake, it will be a job — will get paid for their work, and a large part of any future profits from WTP will be plowed back into Wikitravel the website. I, personally, think that giving people the option to buy printed copies of guides they like is a much friendlier way of funding the site than advertisements or begging for donations. Jpatokal 05:23, 3 August 2007 (EDT)