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by Kevin Coupe

Apparently, it is the 245th year that is the hardest.

The New York Times reports that the Encyclopaedia Britannica - the oldest English language continually published encyclopedia of its kind - will cease publishing a print edition. The 2010, 32-volume set of books is the last to be printed; from now on, the encyclopedia will be moved completely online.

Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., seems to be okay with the shift: ““Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”

According to the story, “sales of the Britannica peaked in 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold in the United States.” Some 12,000 copies of the 2010 volume set were printed, but only 8,000 were sold. The others are being stored.

Of course, economics also played apart.

It cost $1,395 to buy the 2010 print edition. Going on Wikipedia.com - or countless other online sources - is free.

It is important to realize that nothing important has changed. Only the delivery system has been altered. In the end, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is really about words and ideas ... the delivery system is pretty much irrelevant.

It’s an eye-opener.
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