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Britannica ends 244-year-long print run

Encyclopaedia goes completely digital, putting an end to 32-volume print edition seen in libraries the world over. Fun facts

india Updated: Mar 15, 2012 01:33 IST
Encyclopaedia Britannica,US,books

Bringing the curtains down on a 244-year-old legacy, Encyclopaedia Britannica is stopping its famed 32-volume print edition.

A popular reference book dotting the shelves of libraries and institutions worldwide, only the digital versions of Encyclopaedia Britannica would be available once the existing inventory of print editions is exhausted.

The announcement by US-based Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc is yet another testimony to the growing prominence of online and digital content.

“Today, we’ve announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone... In a larger sense, this is just another historical data point in the evolution of human knowledge,” Encyclopaedia Britannica said in a blog on Tuesday.

A brainchild of three Scotsmen, the first print edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica came out way back in 1768. The prized publication comes every two years, and the last print edition hit the stands in 2010.

Stressing that the decision to stop print edition has “great significance”, Encyclopaedia Britannica’s President Jorge Cauz said that its digital database is much larger than “what we can fit in the print set”.

“And it is up to date because we can revise it within minutes anytime we need to, and we do it many times each day,” Cauz said in another blog.

The entity, which once focussed on door-to-door sales of its popular encyclopaedias, now garners majority of revenues from online sales.

Remaining a prominent print publisher over a century, Encyclopaedia Britannica came out with the first digital encyclopaedia in 1981. Eight years later, the multimedia CD hit the stands and 1994. The group launched the first encyclopaedia on the Internet.

“With the end of the Britannica print set, we complete the transition from print to digital,” the company said.

First Published: Mar 14, 2012 11:47 IST