Who can forget flipping through pages of the Oxford English Dictionary looking for that one elusive word. Looks like the venerable dictionary itself become elusive. Reason? The next edition of the vast tome will never be printed again due to dwindling book sales.
According to the publishers, the sales of the third edition of the dictionary have fallen due to increasing popularity of online alternatives.
"I don't think the third edition would be printed. The print dictionary market is just disappearing," Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of Oxford University Press told telegraph.co.uk. The dictionary will only appear online, the website reported.
The online version of the dictionary has existed for more than a decade and recieves more than two billion hits a month from subscribers.
Interestingly, Simon Winchester, author of The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary blames the advent of iPads for the slow demise of print.
"Until six months ago I was clinging to the idea that printed books would likely last for ever. Since the arrival of the iPad I am now wholly convinced otherwise," Winchester said.
The first Oxford Dictionary came out in sections from 1884, completed in 1928.