It had to happen sooner or later. After 244 years of setting the authoritative standard in encyclopedias, Encyclopedia Britannica has announced the end of their printed reference books:
“After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.
Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered sets of reference books that were once sold door to door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, the company is expected to announce on Wednesday.
In a nod to the realities of the digital age — and, in particular, the competition from the hugely popular Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools, company executives said.
The last edition of the encyclopedia will be the 2010 edition, a 32-volume set that weighs in at 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.”
With less than 1% of Encyclopedia Britannica’s revenues coming from its printed books and with the overpowering competition of Wikipedia, it was time to let the books go. Good night, sweet prints. You served us well.