Imagine this, the sum of all knowledge, but in book form. That is what Michael Mandiberg has done with the help of Lulu.com, an online print-on-demand book publisher. Mandiberg has taken on what many have talked about, but none have attempted to do; make a printed version of Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopedia in the world.
The project took a little more than 24 days to upload, finishing up around 10 pm on Sunday, July 12th, 2015. Here's the catch; the 7,600 volumes of text were not actually printed, just uploaded. On display at the Denny Gallery was a rendition of what it would look like if the volumes were actually printed. Entitled Aaaaa! To ZZZap!, it was on display from June 18th through July 11th.
Lulu.com is offering a print copy to anyone willing to pay $500,000 for it. Anyone wishing to read the complete set will need the patience to get through all 5.4 million pages. "I popped a bottle of champagne," Madiberg told The New York Times about completing the project. As he should. After all, it took approximately three years of planning and execution to complete.
Lulu.com has been in business since 2002 and published more than two million books since inception. It has become sort of a snub to larger publishers as Lulu is designed to give writers and easy way to publish books and receive royalties without using one of the major publishers. This project was ironic as the largest publishing companies in the world were not involved in the process of creating the world's largest book.
Coincidentally, Lulu was founded by RedHat co-founder Bob Young. RedHat is a software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that provides open-source software products to companies. Wikipedia just happens to be open-source software itself.