I'm really pleased to announce here that one of the projects Maj and I have been working on for a long time has finally come to fruition. Today Wikitravel Press launched its first two Open Content printed guidebooks -- Wikitravel Chicago and Wikitravel Singapore.
When we started Wikitravel back in 2003 (!), our sincere hope was that at some point in the future, people would be able to carry Wikitravel guidebooks with them on a trip. I think that mobile technology is excellent, and it's amazing how much you can read on a cell phone or PDA these days. But there's still something so convenient about a printed guidebook: it never runs out of batteries; you don't need an uplink to read it; you don't have to worry about it getting stolen because you flashed it out in the wrong café or restaurant.
To be honest, I thought that one of the "traditional" guidebook publishers would step in and use Wikitravel content in their guides. But that didn't happen, and along with our partner Jani Patokallio, Maj and I decided to start a publishing company ourselves. Thus Wikitravel Press, and our first two books.
We have a number of other books in the pipeline, and our hope is to have a few dozen available by the end of the year, and a few hundred by the end of the following year. I'm working on the Wikitravel guide to Montreal, and Maj and I are collaborating on Buenos Aires. We're taking a 6-week trip to Argentina in February/March, so this should be a great time for research.
I heartily encourage any writers or editors who are interested in working on travel books to contact Wikitravel Press about your ideas of bringing Wikitravel content to print. I think this is a great opportunity for people who want to encourage Open Content, or who want to get into the travel writing field, or who just love the idea of wikis-to-books.