Encyclopedia Britannica – In Print No More

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The first edition of Encyclopedia Britannica was released in 1768 by three visionary Scotsmen. It became the standard reference on many a household bookshelf. On March 13th 2012 via their blog, they announced that after 244 years their current 32-volume printed edition (the first edition was 3 volumes) would be the last print version available when their current inventory ran out.

Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I can tell you the Britannica helped me out with many a homework assignment.

Luckily it will live on in various digital formats.

4 thoughts on “Encyclopedia Britannica – In Print No More”

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  2. We’ve still got many books at home.
    But our kids in high school don’t bother to take a book, they just google their question and copy/paste the answers from the Wikipaedia.

    To honest, I would do the same … (though I still like to “have” the books).


  3. Wait, Britannica still exists? I assumed this had happened many years ago. I feel genuinely horrible for any poor salesman that has been peddling these door-to-door in the current millennium.

    It’s intriguing to me to see companies that should have been the Kings of the Internet fail so horribly. Brittannica and World Book were compendiums of knowledge for hundreds of years before the Internet, and are beyond irrelevancy now. Sears & Roebuck shipped the basics of a household to the frontier one hundred years ago, but still hasn’t figured out how to create a usable website today, content to let Amazon do what they invented. Kodak and Polaroid brought photography to the masses, then watched as the masses bought better equipment while they refused to innovate any longer.

    There is no reason why we shouldn’t all spend time on Britannicapedia, have Sears Prime accounts, and use digital Kodak or Polaroid cameras that aren’t rebranded junk.

    Rather than mourning the failed business model, we should take a cautionary note of the business models that changed decades ago, but the companies who rode their own reputations into the ground.

  4. My brother managed to get the last edition. He is quite chuffed about this! Hoping his kids maintain the set… Good thing it comes with a CD/DVD version. Cannot wait to dig into that.

  5. It seems like the right thing to do, that should have happened a long time ago. It’s just not practical to have so many books when the information can be digitized. Plus the information would probably be out of date within a couple of years, rendering the books nearly useless.

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