Friday, March 16

Rule Britannica

The digital age has won yet another battle.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. announced on Tuesday, March 13, 2011 that it will stop publishing print editions of its encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768.

It will stop being available when the current stock runs out, the company said. The Chicago-based company will continue to offer digital versions of the encyclopedia.

Officials said the end of the printed, 32-volume set has been foreseen for some time since it was out-of-date by the time it was printed.

The top year for the printed encyclopedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996.

The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.

The final hardcover encyclopedia set is available for sale at Britannica's website for a mere $1,395.

Encyclopaedia Britannica plans to mark the end of the print version by making the contents of its website free for one week.

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