- Free as in freedom
- The textbooks on this site are all released under a free content license. That means that they are free as in freedom, forever. No one can stop you from using these materials, modifying them or distributing them. Also, the license guarantees that any works that are derived from these materials will be similarly free to modify and distribute, forever.
- Gratis (no money required)
- Are you really going to spend money for a textbook when you can get the same or similar information for free? Anyone can access the Wikibooks textbooks at no cost.
- Academia meets the real world
- Our textbooks are started by people who are familiar with the subject. Content is continually augmented by Wikibookians. This is no lone professor seeking additional income, it is a community of people who are there to learn the material in the least painful way to get the grade and be prepared for the next step. That means textbooks that make sense.
- Up-to-the-minute changes
- You will never have to wait months or years for another edition to come out that incorporates the latest changes in the field. The very minute a discovery or advancement is made, the text can be updated to reflect that change.
- Built-in feedback
- Every textbook page has its own associated talk page where students can ask each other questions and help each other with the material. Each page can also receive reader feedback through an interface at the bottom of the page.
- Global access to educational materials
- Learners from around the globe who have access to the Web can find quality educational information, regardless of financial status, local/regional educational restrictions, or proximity to an educational institution.
- Educational flexibility
- No time constraints. You can contribute and use the content at your own pace.
Anyone is free to contribute. One of the best ways to learn about something is to teach it to someone else. Challenge yourself to see how well you really know the material. This site gives you the chance to use and work on a textbook devoted to the subject you are studying. And it's free!
- In just a few short years and entirely through volunteer efforts, Wikipedia has become one of the leading encyclopedias on the web. (Wikipedia has more traffic than Encyclopedia Britannica online!) Wikibooks seeks to replicate this success in as much time.
- All of the material developed on this site is released under a license that guarantees that the information remains free forever. Leave behind a tiny legacy with each bit you add to the open textbook project. It really is about giving back to humanity and helping yourself as you help your fellow human beings.
- You know the times when you could have presented a topic better than the author of the textbook you are using. At Wikibooks teachers have the chance to take an active hand in how that information is organized and presented, and make a lasting contribution to the students in your classroom and around the world.
- Teachers should also consider making the development of a textbook a class project. Students learn not only the subject matter at hand, but also the art of collaboration, and they establish contacts with other students from around the world. This is also a great learning activity for teachers themselves in that they can gain valuable insights into the ways that students perceive the topic.
- Tired of searching for elusive reference texts scattered around the organization or budgeting for a new round of reference data every few months to years depending upon the volatility of your field? Material placed here and eventually crosschecked by many users is now only a click away if you have good Internet access. Unlike your physical reference library, it may also be viewable on your portable computer during field excursions.
- Industry leaders
- You need today's students to be prepared for tomorrow's workplace. Help get that knowledge into their hands today, and it will be stored in a place that they can always go back to refer to it.
Why not to contribute?
Sometimes, there may be reasons not to contribute. These might be:
- Legal reasons
- If you are not in the position to provide material that can be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0 and the GNU Free Documentation License, you can't contribute. You should own the copyright to the material you contribute or it must have a compatible license or be public domain. See Wikibooks:Copyrights for details. Never submit copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner. (public domain is considered out of copyright).
- Legal problems can come from areas where you wouldn't expect them. For example in some countries, like Germany, an employer has the legal right to all inventions done by an employee—even if done in the employee's spare time, and outside of the field of expertise for which the employee has been hired. This right prevents publication of ideas without an explicit agreement from the employer. Such things are often not mentioned in work contracts, because it is the law.
- There is also an ugly trend in some countries and professions to require employees to sign some code of conduct or code of ethics. Having to adhere to some ethics in business is not a bad idea, but these codes often sneak in some restrictions of what (if anything at all) an employee is allowed to publish without an explicit (written) agreement from the company (e.g. the company's legal and PR departments).
- Financial Reasons
- If you want royalties or the exclusive right to profit from selling a book, do not contribute. Anyone can make money from selling textbooks available at Wikibooks as long as the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0 and the GNU Free Documentation License are followed.
- If you want to retain control of your work evolution, distribution and use, do not contribute. Wikibooks is about collaboration, not ownership.