Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc to end its 244 year legacy
Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. announced on 13thMarch 2012 that it will stop publishing print editions of the book encyclopaedia. The Britannica’s encyclopaedia is available in printed form since the year 1768, when it was first published in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Encyclopaedia Britannica has already stopped printing hard copies of its books. The books released in 2010 that are now available in the markets are the last ones to grab.This was not a sudden decision to stop the publishment but was thought about for quite sometime now and the official word is now out.
Jorge Cauz, President of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. said “This has nothing to do with Wikipedia or Google,This has to do with the fact that now Britannica sells its digital products to a large number of people.” Also he added “The sales of printed encyclopaedias have been negligible for several years.We knew this was going to come.”
Printed Encyclopaedia was the most reliable and easy source of articles on wide range of subjects till the digital world was made easily accessible to common man. Initally Britannica’s Encyclopaedia mostly had articles on Arts and Sciences then was adaptive to changes to bring in data fromall subjects the world witnesses.
The printed version of encyclopaedia was at its peak in 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold.And then the number began to fall reaching 40,000 copies with the 1996 version. Cauz said “The company started exploring digital publishing since 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.”
The print version had seen 15 Editions since 1768 and the 15th edition had a maximum of 32 volumes.
For some years now the printed version has lost it’s lustre to the online version of encyclopedia and more than that it has seen Wikipedia grow rapidly. The growth of internet and Wikipedia ,which is a free version, saw the downfall in print edition of Britannica’s Encyclopaedia. But however Encyclopaedia scores high on the accuracy of information provided since it is written by authentic contributors compared to anyone-can-add policy of Wikipedia.
To mark the end of the print version,Britannica is making the contents of its website available free for one week,starting Tuesday.
|Britannica’s Advertisement for 11th Edition of Encyclopaedia|
The company in its announcement said “Online versions of the encyclopaedia now serve more than 100 million people around the world, and are available on mobile devices. The encyclopaedia has become increasingly social as well, because users can send comments to editors now”.ALso,”A printed encyclopaedia is obsolete the minute that you print it,” Cauz said,”Whereas our online edition is updated continuously.”
The decision to stop print editions can also be attributed to the additional advantages the online medium provides, such as easy to search ,search within text and continuous updation.The Encyclopaedia will continue to be available in DVD and online version.
“To me, the most important message is that the printed edition was not what made Britannica,” Cauz said. “The most important thing about Britannica is that Britannica is relevant and vibrant because it brings scholarly knowledge to an editorial process to as many knowledge seekers as possible.”
Britannica Encyclopaedia is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,400 expert contributors,which include Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman, astronomer Carl Sagan, and surgeon Michael DeBakey and even world leaders such as former President Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Finally,”While Wikipedia has become ubiquitous, the Britannica remains a consistently more reliable source for more than 244 years” the company said.
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