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.