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There is a wonderful piece in Slate by Stefan Fatsis in which he looks at the dictionary business, which has taken a major hit because of the growth of the internet.

There is a lot of resonance there for other industries. When you think about it, dictionary publishers for centuries served as the final authority on what was a word and what wasn't. They published the books, and consumers paid attention. There was, for all practical purposes, no other option.

But the growth of the internet has democratized the process. There are tons of sources where one can get definitions, and it is a challenge for traditional dictionary publishers to maintain visibility, credibility, and a sustainable business model.

The Slate piece looks at how various publishers are addressing the issue. One key insight has ben that "a dictionary isn’t primarily a book anymore. It’s a database." And once you've made that leap of faith, you start competing with an entirely different set of expectations and strategies.

Fascinating story ... and you can read it here.
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