Wikibooks logo
Commercial? No
Type of site Books wiki
Registration Optional
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Created by Jimmy Wales and the Wikimedia Community

Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of free content books. It is a Wikimedia Foundation project.



Started on July 10, 2003, the project is a collection of free textbooks and annotated texts that are written collaboratively on the website. The site is a wiki, meaning that anyone can edit book modules without their contributions being subject to review before modifications are accepted.

The project was opened in response to a request by Wikipedia's Karl Wick for a place to start building free content textbooks such as organic chemistry and physics in order to reduce the costs and other limitations on learning materials.


Growth of the six largest Wikibooks sites (by language), July 2003 – May 2006
Growth of the six largest Wikibooks sites (by language), July 2003 – May 2006

While some books are original, others began as text copied over from other sources of free content textbooks found on the Internet. All of the site's content is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License. As with its sister project, Wikipedia, contributions remain copyrighted to their creators, while the copyleft licensing ensures that the content will always remain freely distributable and reproducible.

Wikibooks differs from Wikisource because content on Wikibooks is expected to be significantly changed by participants. Raw source documents such as the original text of Shakespearean plays is hosted on Wikisource instead.

The site is working towards completion of several textbooks in numerous languages, which founders hope will be followed by mainstream adoption and use of texts developed and housed there.


Wikibooks has many incomplete texts, and many argue that even the comprehensive texts (books rated at the highest level) are of poor quality. The wiki model encourages the creation of abortive book projects that linger indefinitely without being improved or deleted, and it can be extremely hard for a visitor of the Wikibooks site to find any high-quality, completed books. The HTML format of the compiled Wikibooks is not suitable for the traditional printing of books with fixed page-width and page-length, and the Wiki syntax is considered ill-suited for professional book editing. Wikibooks also inherits all the criticisms levelled towards wiki-style editing in general.

The counter arguments to these criticisms are that Wikibooks content is available for almost continuous peer review, and thanks to the wiki-style editing, this project also inherits all of the strengths of Wikipedia. For popular titles and items that gather interest from several participants, the quality of the content tends to improve rapidly. Noted books that have achieved this are all highly technical books, especially related to computers and the internet, as well as linguistic books related to (human) language learning.

Project incubation

There are two major subprojects within Wikibooks that have used Wikibooks as an incubator:

Wikijunior, a youth print and online content project.
Wikijunior has been proposed as a full Wikimedia sister project. Some discussion for its creation as a sister project reached the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, but it was an incomplete proposal. Its internet domain name ( was registered by the Wikimedia Foundation in anticipation of its becoming sister project at some point in the future.
Wikiversity, a free content, open learning environment and research community.
Wikiversity became a beta project in 2006, when the English Wikiversity ( became an independent wiki development environment. Content on English Wikibooks was moved to the Wikiversity project as seeding material. As of August 2006, Wikiversity is now a separate project. Currently, there is an effort to move wikiversity material to the new server.

These projects were grandfathered as sub-projects. Since their creation, Wikibook's policy was changed so that future incubator type projects are started according to the New project policy of the Wikimedia Foundation and the proposal added to Proposals for new projects. This also became the official Wikibooks policy on the subject.


  • All Systems Go: The Newly Emerging Infrastructure to Support Free Books. Ben Crowell. Retrieved on June 18, 2006.

Other languages

Wikibooks with over 1,000 textbook modules:

Deutsch(German) - English - Espaol(Spanish) - Franais(French) - עברית(Hebrew) - Magyar(Hungarian) - Italiano(Italian) - 日本語(Japanese) - Nederlands(Dutch) - Polski(Polish) - Portugus(Portuguese)

Wikibooks with over 100 textbook modules:

العربية(Arabic) - Bahasa Indonesia(Indonesian) - Български(Bulgarian) - Catal(Catalan) - 中文(Chinese) - Čeština(Czech) - Dansk(Danish) - Englisc(Old English) - Esperanto - فارسی(Persian - Galego(Galician) - slenska(Icelandic) - 한국어(Korean) - Lietuvių(Lithuanian) - Македонски(Macedonian) - Norsk(Norwegian) - русский(Russian) - српски(Serbian) - Shqip(Albanian) - Slovenčina(Slovak) - Suomi(Finnish) - Svenska(Swedish) - தமிழ்(Tamil) - ไทย(Thai) - Trke(Turkish) - українська(Ukrainian)

Wikibooks with over 10 textbook modules:

Alemannisch(Alemannic German) - Հայերեն(Armenian) - Беларуская(Belarusian) - বাংলা(Bengali) - Bosanski(Bosnian) - BasaSunda(Sundanese) - Чӑваш(Chuvach) - Cymraeg(Welsh) - DorerinNaoero(Nauruan) - Ελληνικά(Greek) - Eesti(Estonian) - Frysk(West Frisian) - ქართული(Georgian) - Ελληνικά(Greek) - Hrvatski(Croatian) - Interlingua - Interlingue - Kurd/كوردی(Kurdish) - Latina(Latin) - മലയാളം(Malayalam) - मराठी(Marathi) - Romnă(Romanian) - SimpleEnglish - Slovenščina(Slovenian) - Tagalog - తెలుగు(Telugu) - Tatar - TiếngViệt(Vietnamese) - اردو(Urdu)

See also

  • Digital library
  • e-book
  • Elibrary
  • ibiblio
  • Open Content Alliance
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Universal library
  • Virtual library
  • wikiHow - a for-profit site with a collection of how-to guides

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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