Encyclopaedia Britannica Goes Out Of Print

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Encyclopaedia Britannica Goes Out Of Print

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The oldest published encyclopedia series is being shut down after nearly two and a half centuries of publication.

Remember in high school how you always had that one teacher who required your history paper references to be specifically from some dusty tome or worn-looking encyclopedia? Those days may officially be gone forever, as after 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica will cease printing physical copies of its iconic book series.

"It's a rite of passage in this new era," explained Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., said in an interview with the New York Times. "Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. [Britannica's] web site is continuously updated, it's much more expansive and it has multimedia."

With fierce competition coming from websites like Wikipedia, it's not too much of a surprise that Encyclopaedia Britannica is switching its focus to more modern, digital methods of providing information on various topics. Only about 8000 of Britannica's 2010 edition sets have been sold, compared to 120,000 in 1990. And while still popular with many schools and libraries, not everyone's interested in hauling around around a 100+ pounds of knowledge when a smartphone can connect you to the same amount of info.

Source: New York Times

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This is a sad, sad day.

That book was more of an icon than a tool. Having that in your library was a must.

I shall seal my copies and treasure them ;_;

and just when i wanted to start to build a bitchin' library....

Well that sucks. Inevitable I suppose, but still... damn.

Wow, that's really sad. I think I'll look into purchasing a set. Shoot... hang onto it for enough generations and it'll be worth a fortune.

Edit: And here's why I said "look into:" $1,395.00 USD!

That's already a fortune to me in this world of student loans.

Would be nice to have one..If I could afford one.

Trying to of something witty to say...So, the Encyclopedia Britannica has finally become a part of history in itself.

Ah, well, another casualty of Wikipedia's dominance.

Though i am impressed that it lasted this long against the Wiki.

gigastar:
Ah, well, another casualty of Wikipedia's dominance.

Though i am impressed that it lasted this long against the Wiki.

I literaly managed to drag myself off that darn site a few minuites ago! Thanks to you I won't get any sleep tonight, you Nwah!

OT: Tis a sad day for books.

SirBryghtside:

gigastar:
Ah, well, another casualty of Wikipedia's dominance.

Though i am impressed that it lasted this long against the Wiki.

Oh, a page on TVTropes about Wikipedia... dammit, now I'll be stuck here!

...hey, what's that first link all abou-

WHAT UNGODLY MADNESS IS THIS

Thats a Moe Anthropomorphism.

Hope you had isomnia. :D

This is a sad day. They will regret switching to digital format if there was a emp large enough to wipe all electronic useless of the entire world.

I'll be honest, I can't remember the last time I looked in an actual encyclopedia since many of my professors discouraged using them as citations. They never explained why, just a "no encyclopedias" rule.(possibly because our sets were always 5-6 years out of date, in one case a full decade.)

Still, can't say I'll shed tears over this since it's bound to save a few million trees.

DAMIT! Now what will we use to track down Carmen Sandiego?
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GOD! First I hear that "Man Vs. Wild" gets cancelled (although I never watched it), and now this?

WTF is this world coming to?!?!?!

Everyone can now enjoy Encyclopaedia Britannica's new website, wikipedia.org

Mydnyght:
GOD! First I hear that "Man Vs. Wild" gets cancelled (although I never watched it), and now this?

WTF is this world coming to?!?!?!

These are dark days for all of us, when I heard Man vs. Wild was cancelled, I almost lit myself on fire and dove into an orphanage. Now Encyclopaedia Britannica is getting cancelled!?

HOW MUCH HORROR MUST ONE MAN ENDURE!

As long as they keep it online and of course store away some original copies, I don't mind. I do mind if they shut it down, though.

SirBryghtside:

gigastar:
Ah, well, another casualty of Wikipedia's dominance.

Though i am impressed that it lasted this long against the Wiki.

Oh, a page on TVTropes about Wikipedia... dammit, now I'll be stuck here!

...hey, what's that first link all abou-

WHAT UNGODLY MADNESS IS THIS

That's on the real Wikipedia? With all of the bloody pictures, it looks like Encyclopaedia Dramatica for God's sake.

On Topic: Well, at least when the bombs hit the demise of digital storage will wipe out history from here on out so that the aliens will think the world ended half way through Jean Chr├ętien's run as Prime Minister.

So sad, but understandable. The dead tree version is a universe more expensive than the DVD version. (I'm led to believe that back when they first released a CD-ROM version they were the same price - HA!)

While I don't read them much any more, I wore the ever-loving daylights out of the World Book my parents bought me for school. Had enough sentimental value that I busted my ass taking them with me when I moved. Don't regret it for a second. (Came with a big dictionary, too. That poor pair of books. One part of it is half a cover short from sheer wear. If ever there was a paragon of well-loved books, that one would be it.)

Not unexpected. These days there's not a whole lot of people who can afford to plunk down one and a half grand for a shelf full of dead trees, especially these days when the Intarwebz can be accessed for a (literal) fraction of the price.

I don't understand how this is sad; we've used science to make something that was a staple of human knowledge for 244 years obsolete. This is a milestone towards human technological progress.

Now all we need is some sort of memory vault - all of wikipedia preserved in small fonts in titanium, in a secret vault in the Andes.

In other news: Encyclopedias are soon to be a very, very expensive collector's item.

I have to say.... My mother had bought an entire set of those for me in 1989. It constituted and entire year of gifts because I'm from a poor ass family. I'm really sorry to see this happen. But at least they aren't folding. They will still exist in a much better form.... but I do love the smell of a book.

omicron1:
Now all we need is some sort of memory vault...

*clears throat* They're already working on that! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Version_0.8 . Eventually they'll reach 1.0

Well God bless them for moving into the digital age.

Now noone has an excuse. The encyclopaedia is now on the internet.

Still, a sad day. 244 years of print. That means 1768 was their first printing year. They are older then the US itself (At least the official nation).

*Looks downstairs to large Britannica collection* *sees it will be a collectors item*
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Is it wrong that I read this as Encyclopedia dramatica, and was it even worse that I was somewhat upset before I re-read it and corrected myself?

Well I want to be optimistic about this so let's say that there is always the past, the knowledge itself and its creditability hasn't been lost and it's good to see even extremely old resources and companies aren't above adjusting to the times for the convenience of the everyday person without sacrificing their integrity.

Good, I've been waiting for published encyclopedias to go away for years & years, Next stop; phone books.

Man as much as I love dusty old books this does make perfect sense from a business standpoint (Not even a shred of sarcasm btw). The sad fact is that books are now obsolete.

Mumorpuger:
Wow, that's really sad. I think I'll look into purchasing a set. Shoot... hang onto it for enough generations and it'll be worth a fortune.

Edit: And here's why I said "look into:" $1,395.00 USD!

That's already a fortune to me in this world of student loans.

Back in the day, that was a decent investment as the information included in that one purchase was figured to stay relevant through a kid's primary and secondary school education. Heck, my family had a set of the good ol' EB's that served us well. When my folks passed away, I opted to sell the set in the estate sell, and glory be, it actually got sold in the 21st Century.
So you may still have your chance to get your own print set, still.

Bear in mind, it is nice to have electronic media without having to kill trees. But if the world goes upside down, it will be nice to have real books to read during the quiet times. Take good care of what you have.

It's a shame. My parents bought a set in 1974 and I've used them my entire life. Every year Britannica would send us a "Book of the Year" that updated the set and I kept getting them. I love them, It's like a huge newspaper giving me details on what happened last year. I'm sad that I won't get one this year and I'm angry that I didn't get a letter telling me this before it hit the news.

And yeah no more trees will be killed to make books but I'll have to use my computer which uses electricity that I get from coal and nuclear. I'm not seeing the Eco-friendly benefits of the digital age.

PlasticLion:
It's a shame. My parents bought a set in 1974 and I've used them my entire life. Every year Britannica would send us a "Book of the Year" that updated the set and I kept getting them. I love them, It's like a huge newspaper giving me details on what happened last year. I'm sad that I won't get one this year and I'm angry that I didn't get a letter telling me this before it hit the news.

And yeah no more trees will be killed to make books but I'll have to use my computer which uses electricity that I get from coal and nuclear. I'm not seeing the Eco-friendly benefits of the digital age.

I think this is a bad thing, though not out of a sense of nostolgia. I do not like the idea of all our information going entirely onto digital platforms. It means that if something happens down the road to wipe out digital media we literally lose every bit of information that doesn't have hardcopy storage. Oddly, as time goes on, we seem to be stupidly advancing more and more towards one of those "Dark Future" techno-apocolypse stories. One good burst of EMP from a solar flare, global warfare/world class terrorism, or something like that and we won't just lose the computers, but all the accumulated information we rely on them to store. This is to say nothing of the possibility of someone actually creating the "super virus" of cyberpunk fiction, as everything grows increasingly interconnected and we grow increasingly dependant on it, something like the fears over the Michaelangelo virus come closer to reality, especially if someone decides not to tell everyone about it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are digital information repositories that are protected against EMP and isolated from outside viruses to the point of most information surviving somewhere, but it wouldn't be in the public's hands, rather in the hands of those specific groups of people.

If your Encyclopedia exists only on say your Smart Phone, which you use for information, and something takes out all the electronics... your pretty much screwed, as is everyone. Sure, you've got an "updated" Encyclopedia from the 70s, but from here on out if a company like Encyclopedia Brittanica goes out of business fewer and fewer people are going to have books like that anymore. Copies in storage right now, despite best intentions (like you mention) are going to be lost or destroyed, or bought up as collectibles by the wealthy who are the people likely to be sheltered after such an apocolypse anyway.

As odd as it sounds, I think that some branch of the goverment should probably be assigned the job of ensuring hardcopy data of this sort be created and easily availible... I mean beyond the library of congress.

-

Otherwise... I think Nuclear is pretty Eco-Friendly overall, people just mostly focus on the potential for disasters with the technology rather than the realities. Even the waste isn't really an issue, we just choose to make it one, part of the problem with allowing NIMBYs to potentially have so much power. In certain cases the goverment does kind of need to be able to say "okay, we need to do this, and we're doing it... right over here" which is why the goverment was given the power of Eminant Domain (which is rarely used for what it's supposed to be). Seems to me that 90% of the issues with Nuclear Power are ones that are created by people surrounding it, rather than with the system itself. Waste and such leaks or gets dumped in screwed up places because the goverment and various companies rarely get to put the stuff in the ideal, safest locations, rather they fight NIMBYs until they wind up with some less than ideal compromise location that wasn't at the top of the list specifically because of the potential problems... then people QQ when it leaks or whatever, and it makes the problem worse. :)

Sorry to ramble, I guess both of these points will make me a jerk in the eyes of 90% of the Escapist community like just about everything I say. ;)

I may run an online document archive but this is a sad day. sure the hardcopies were expensive, sure they would never be as upto date as an online version but the books will last for future generations.

im a former library technician and an open secret the library industry doesnt like to mention is that due to budget cuts and shrinking space they are constantly throwing in the garbage or burning archived materials. in some cases things are digitised before destruction but in alot of cases those things are gone forever.

As much as i love the net. i cant guarentee material on it will still be around in 10, 50 or 100 years and if something major happens to the net and world this era wil be another darkages as far as history is concerned

At first I was like: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Then I was like: I cannot be!

Now I'm like: I guess i t makes sense, but I'm still sad about it.

'Tis very sad, but inevitable, I guess. I gather even most of those 8000 copies of the 2010 edition are simply gathering dust in some back corner of a library. I hope the web version of the EB continues to grow and prosper.

I need something to cheer me up...

Danpascooch:
I hear that "Man Vs. Wild" gets cancelled

...and everything is again right in the world :D

Good. They're moving this encyclopedia to a better medium for everyone. Cheaper for them to maintain, easier to keep up to date, easier and cheaper to access, everyone wins!

Physical encyclopedias are obsolete. Nobody uses them anymore. People just google something, wiki it if they can get away with it.

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