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244 Years Later, Encylopedia Britannica is Going Out of Print

By - Source: Encyclopedia Britannica | B 33 comments

So long, old friend.

It feels like the Encyclopedia Britannica has been around forever. Those of us old enough to remember a time when the internet didn't have all the answers will remember using the volumes to research projects and essays for school. However, with the digital age well and truly upon us, Britannica is saying goodbye. The editors of the 244-year-old series have announced that they're stopping printing of the Britannica encyclopedias.

"For 244 years, the thick volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica have stood on the shelves of homes, libraries, and businesses everywhere, a source of enlightenment as well as comfort to their owners and users around the world," reads the official Britannica blog. "They’ve always been there. Year after year. Since 1768. Every. Single. Day. But not forever. Today we’ve announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone."

So is this the end of Encyclopedia Britannica? Not at all. According to Jorge Cauz President of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., today's announcement represents more than the end of the print edition.

"At Encyclopaedia Britannica we believe that the announcement that we will no longer print the 32-volume encyclopedia is of great significance, not for what it says about our past, but for what it projects about our vibrant present and future as a digital provider of general knowledge and instructional services," Cauz wrote.

"We have completed our transition from print publisher of the Encyclopaedia Britannica to a digital provider of knowledge and e-learning solutions."

Cauz says Encyclopedia Britannica will be concentrating its efforts on its digital properties from here on out as these can be continuously updated and not bound by the space constraints of the print edition. He added that Britannica's digital database is actually larger than what can fit in the print set and is revised several times each day. The most recent edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is the 2010 15th edition.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 14, 2012 4:08 PM
    RIP Britannica. But if they are going digital, they will have Wikipedia as their competitor, which made Encarta go out of business.
  • 14 Hide
    jaber2 , March 14, 2012 4:32 PM
    I totaly forgot encarta, good times :) 
  • 10 Hide
    zak_mckraken , March 14, 2012 5:11 PM
    @COLGeek : You read a 32-volume collection several times and you only learned a thing or two??? I'd be a regular know-it-all if I'd have only read a couple of pages! ;) 
Other Comments
    Display all 33 comments.
  • 16 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 14, 2012 4:08 PM
    RIP Britannica. But if they are going digital, they will have Wikipedia as their competitor, which made Encarta go out of business.
  • 8 Hide
    jl0329 , March 14, 2012 4:17 PM
    I will buy a set of print edition. It might pay for my grandchildren's college tuition when the time comes.
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , March 14, 2012 4:25 PM
    Is been a long time since I see a door to door sales person.

    In other news: Someone bought a printed "mint" edition of the last printed edition of Encyclopedia Britannica for an insane amount of $$$$, sources claim that the amount of $$$$ is
    "so insane" that they refuse to printed.
  • 14 Hide
    jaber2 , March 14, 2012 4:32 PM
    I totaly forgot encarta, good times :) 
  • 6 Hide
    mayne92 , March 14, 2012 4:38 PM
    rohitbaranRIP Britannica. But if they are going digital, they will have Wikipedia as their competitor, which made Encarta go out of business.


    Wikipedia - a source of info that "anyone can edit" and is discouraged to solely use in academia settings

    Brittanica - info that has been true and sound for 244 years...allows for user content recommendations but still needs to be validated.

    ...Yeah that's tough competition.
  • 10 Hide
    CaedenV , March 14, 2012 4:40 PM
    rohitbaranRIP Britannica. But if they are going digital, they will have Wikipedia as their competitor, which made Encarta go out of business.

    Encarta went out of business because it was terrible. They just could not make up their mind who their audience was. the articles (at least when I use to use it) were written far above the heads of kids, and yet the layout was something that first graders would find unprofessional.
  • 7 Hide
    COLGeek , March 14, 2012 4:42 PM
    Good bye, old friend. When I was growing up, I read the EB, cover(s) to cover(s), several times. Good memories and I actually learned a thing, or two.
  • 10 Hide
    zak_mckraken , March 14, 2012 5:11 PM
    @COLGeek : You read a 32-volume collection several times and you only learned a thing or two??? I'd be a regular know-it-all if I'd have only read a couple of pages! ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    Tab54o , March 14, 2012 5:25 PM
    I still have a set of encyclopedias from the 1950-1960's at my moms house. I used to use them when I was in elementary through high school which was in the 90's lol.
  • 4 Hide
    acadia11 , March 14, 2012 6:21 PM
    Collectors items. I'm ordering a set.
  • 0 Hide
    loomis86 , March 14, 2012 6:36 PM
    jl0329I will buy a set of print edition. It might pay for my grandchildren's college tuition when the time comes.



    The last set of encyclopedias wont be a collectors item until most copies are lost or destroyed. That will take a hundred years.
  • 1 Hide
    loomis86 , March 14, 2012 6:37 PM
    Tab54oI still have a set of encyclopedias from the 1950-1960's at my moms house. I used to use them when I was in elementary through high school which was in the 90's lol.


    I have my great grandmother's set from 1902. She was a school teacher.
  • 1 Hide
    robochump , March 14, 2012 6:37 PM
    Kind of sad. Trying to recall the last time a door to door salesman tried to sell Encyclopedia's and I believe it was while I was a kid in the early 80s...lol.
  • 2 Hide
    dark_lord69 , March 14, 2012 6:49 PM
    Yeah, what's the point anymore...
    Modern encyclepedia = Internet
    But there is a trade off cause a real encyclopedia has factual information while the internet has plenty of garbage that needs to be taken with a grain of salt if you get my drift...
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 14, 2012 7:23 PM
    Now I'll never learn where my mandibula is
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 14, 2012 7:44 PM
    I regret tossing my 1980's copy in the recycle bin back in the early 2000's...
  • -1 Hide
    obsama1 , March 14, 2012 8:28 PM
    SMH...
  • 1 Hide
    HEXiT , March 14, 2012 9:34 PM
    i dont get this... there is still a need for books. they will last longer than on a hdd.
    a totally dumb move that only an idiot would consider a good idea...
    yes the price of the books is pretty steep but they re worth the effort and money to collect as everything in them is based on facts or empirical evidence... cant say the same for wiki...
  • 1 Hide
    anti-painkilla , March 14, 2012 10:02 PM
    dark_lord69Yeah, what's the point anymore...Modern encyclepedia = InternetBut there is a trade off cause a real encyclopedia has factual information while the internet has plenty of garbage that needs to be taken with a grain of salt if you get my drift...


    Well if they go online, they will keep a tight lid on what content is allowed and what is not. I think it will be great. It will depend on how they 'collect revenue'. Donations, user pays or use FB's horrible advertising model.

    I am thinking user pays.... Maybe site wide educational pricing?
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , March 14, 2012 10:21 PM
    I still have a red leather bound 26 volume edition from the 1970's, mint condition, that belonged to my Dad. I think I will keep it for my own kids now, just in case they don't know what a "book" is.
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