Back in the dark ages 20 or so years ago, houses across America had at least one or two shelves in their living rooms dedicated to a set of encyclopedias. As many as 30 or more volumes costing hundreds of dollars would be lined up side by side, referred to constantly by curious adults in the household or by children working on a report for school. Now, of course, we have the Internet.
Households contain multiple Internet-connected devices these days, and questions that once took a trip to the bookshelf to answer now take a quick query on Google or the world’s crowd-sourced encyclopedia of record, Wikipedia. We have our answers in mere seconds, and then we move on.
In an interesting note from NPR this past weekend, the news organization answered one question that actually can’t be answered with a quick Wikipedia query, however: How many pages would it take to print Wikipedia?
The answer, as it turns out, is pretty incredible.
According to the report, it would take a ridiculous 1 million pages to print Wikipedia from start to finish. The figure comes from a German startup called PediaPress, which is raising money on Indiegogo to actually print Wikipedia. Why? Why not.
Those 1 million pages would be crammed into 1,000 volumes that would consist of 1,200 pages each. They would take up about 260 feet of shelf space. For comparison, the last printed edition of Encyclopedia Britannica included 32 volumes and 32,640 pages.