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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Life Goes On

I can remember when owning a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica was something of a status symbol.  Perhaps because, in part, it would set you back over a thousand dollars to get one on your book shelf.  Imagine how the business model at the publisher's must have been upset when competing encyclopedias started appearing on CD in the late 90's that were free.   And then became easily accessible on line.

Talk about upsetting the apple cart.

So how has the world's finest collection of facts and photos fared?

As you might imagine:
Encyclopaedia Britannica to end print editions
By Caryn Rousseau, Associated Press

Chicago (AP) — Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. said Tuesday that it will stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago.

The book-form of Encyclopaedia Britannica has been in print since it was first published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768. It will stop being available when the current stock runs out, the company said. The Chicago-based company will continue to offer digital versions of the encyclopedia.

Officials said the end of the printed, 32-volume set has been foreseen for some time.

"This has nothing to do with Wikipedia or Google," Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. President Jorge Cauz said. "This has to do with the fact that now Britannica sells its digital products to a large number of people."

The top year for the printed encyclopedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold, Cauz said. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996, he said. The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.

The final hardcover encyclopedia set is available for sale at Britannica's website for $1,395. [link]
So if you want that nice, shiny set of the finest reference work ever compiled, ya better act fast. Quantities are limited.

Or go here and save the cash for beer.