Wikibooks isn't the only resource on the web to find high-quality free ebooks. There are dozens of other large sites that offer them, and thousands of personal websites where authors offer up a book or two that they've written personally. Many people write books for a variety of reasons. Some people like to share the knowledge they've gathered. Some people like to help others. Some people are tired of answering questions from, and choose to put all the information in one place to answer all the questions at once. Regardless of the motivation, writing a book can be hard work, and maintaining it over time even more so. Donating a book you've written to Wikibooks can be a great move for many reasons:
- If your book is already freely available, Wikibooks and the GFDL license insures that it will always remain free. If your book is not yet free, you should always consider releasing it under a free license so other people can benefit from it.
- Save yourself the bandwidth. Wikibooks servers are free to use and are completely supported by donations to the Wikimedia Foundation.
- Save yourself the trouble. Server configurations hassles? DNS issues? Denial of service attacks? The Wikimedia Foundation employs a number of server technicians and software developers who deal with the technical headaches so you don't have to.
- Wikibooks has hundreds of authors, editors, illustrators, and other contributors who can edit your book and keep it up-to-date. Tired of getting emails from readers with corrections and suggestions? Put it on Wikibooks and let them fix it themselves.
- Wikibooks has print on demand publishing. Put your book on Wikibooks, create a Help:Collection from it, and have a few copies printed up.
- Benefit from the Wikimedia Foundations massive integration. Your book can use material from Wikimedia Commons, import content from Wikipedia, and be used in a classroom through Wikiversity. That's just the start!
There are lots of reasons why existing e-books should be donated to Wikibooks, we hope you agree!
If you've decided to donate a book to Wikibooks, you need to satisfy a few conditions first. There are a number of rules, requirements, and policies that must be followed to help keep Wikibooks a valuable high-quality free resource. If you have a book to donate, and need any help with it, you can always ask at the Reading Room. We also have a comprehensive list of policies on this issue listed at WB:DONATE.
The first step is to make sure your book satisfies Wikibooks inclusion criteria policy. Wikibooks is not a general purpose ebook host and books that do not conform to this policy may be deleted from Wikibooks. In short, here is a list of major requirements for books on Wikibooks:
- The book should be non-fiction, and usually should be academic.
- The book should use a neutral point of view.
- The book should not contain original research on a topic that has not been well-studied.
- The book should be instructional. It should not just be a listing of facts and figures, or a series of unrelated articles.
- Wikibooks is for textbooks, not for dictionaries, news reports, blogs, or other types of media.
- The book should be released under the GFDL.
The GFDL and Copyright Issues
The biggest hurdle to most donations is copyright issues. Wikibooks and all the books on it are licensed under the GFDL. The GFDL is a copy-left license with two major provisions:
- All authors to the book should be properly attributed.
- All edits to the book must be released under the GFDL also. Therefore, all future versions of the book that are derived from the one on Wikibooks will always be released under the GFDL.
If you are an author of a book and you own the copyright to it, you can grant Wikibooks a license to use the book under the GFDL, and you can also grant other licenses to other people for it as well. As the copyright holder, you can grant as many licenses to use the material as you want. However the version at Wikibooks, and all future revisions of that version, will always be available under the GFDL. If the book is on Wikibooks, you can still host a copy on your own website, and you can print and sell the book too. You can also allow other websites to use your book under a different license too, if you want.
It's important to realize that once you grant Wikibooks a license to use your book under the GFDL, you can not take it back. The license is a contract, and you cannot break the contract unless Wikibooks violates the license in some way. Some authors want to put their book onto Wikibooks for a trial period, and then ask to have it taken down again. This cannot happen, once the book is on Wikibooks, it is there to stay. Be certain you want to donate the book to Wikibooks, because it cannot be undone afterwards.
If you are not the sole author of the book, or if you are not the originator or owner of all images in the book, you cannot donate it to Wikibooks without the permission of all copyright holders.
Converting to Wikitext
Wikibooks uses Wikitext for its content, not LaTeX, or HTML, or DOCBOOK, or any other kind of markup or formatting. The biggest technical challenge to uploading a book to Wikibooks is that the book must be converted to Wikitext first, and then uploaded. This can be very difficult to do by hand, but several users have created tools and bots to help make the work easier. Ask for help at WB:TECH.