Yes, you read that headline correctly. You can now own Wikipedia encyclopedias for your bookshelves — your non-digital bookshelves that is.
Michael Mandiberg, known for co-writing Digital Foundations, Collaborative Futures, and The Social Media Reader, is the man responsible for this mega feat (and it really is a mega, mega feat). The total collection is made up of 7,471 volumes, totaling up to 5,244,111 pages. And the madness doesn’t stop there! A separate collection that contains the names of the 7.5 million contributors adds up to another bulky 36 volumes. Anyone who plans on purchasing these collections is clearly going to need a lot of bookshelf space. They’re also going to need a lot of money. Each volume is being sold for $80 a piece, while the total collection will cost you half a million dollars.
Print Wikipedia, the project’s official title, is the result of Lulu.com, a publishing site that helped take the digital resources and project them onto physical pages for printing. While the end result of this process is obviously a physical product, we can’t help but admire the artistic qualities of the endeavor. Programers are artists too, and if anything is proof of that, it’s Print Wikipedia.
Even the project’s creator Michael Mandiberg recognizes the beauty in the technicalities of this work, stating that “This project has two correlated sectors, one of which has utility, and one that does not […] seeing the words that show up on these covers, like ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ to ‘Humanitarianism in Africa’ and that’s the volume on humanism. And there’s two examples of the failure of humanism. So there’s a lot of value in it poetically.” And we’re one hundred percent on board with him.
Wikipedia is a product of the culture it was created in, and Print Wikipedia is so wonderfully ironic in the way that it captures what is a digital world and turns it back to its analog roots. Well done, Mandiberg, we applaud you.
Featured Image: Michael Mandiberg