Codebreaker

Encyclopedia Britannica bites the dust

Marc Sanchez Mar 14, 2012


As technology bringeth, it also taketh away. Encyclopedia Britannica announced yesterday that, after 244 years, it will no longer publish a print edition. Goodbye you big, ugly building blocks of so many elementary school essays. You will be missed.

Chicago-based Britannica says it will focus on its online and educational business. For $70 a pop, you can get a subscription to Britannica’s digital domain, where information, articles, and videos, are posted and made accessible to computers and mobile devices.

That’s a much easier pill to swallow than the price of the current set of books, as the New York Times reports: “The Britannica, the oldest continuously published encyclopedia in the English language, has become a luxury item with a $1,395 price tag. It is frequently bought by embassies, libraries and research institutions, and by well-educated, upscale consumers who felt an attachment to the set of bound volumes. Only 8,000 sets of the 2010 edition have been sold, and the remaining 4,000 have been stored in a warehouse until they are bought.”

Sales of the encyclopedia peaked at 120,000 sets in 1990, just about the time our pal The Internet was learning to crawl and about a decade before a guy named Jimmy Wales bought the domain name Wikipedia.

 

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