Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 said that it will stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago.
It's a sad day for Encyclopedia Britannica lovers as the editors announce the end to the 32-volume printed version after 244 years.
In a blog post on the company website, Britannica Editors said, "this is just another historical data point in the evolution of human knowledge."
This move is the latest in a trend towards digital publishing. For the past 20 years, the Encyclopedia Britannica has primarily been an online product.
"The end of the print set is something we've foreseen for some time," said Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. "It's the latest step in our evolution from the print publisher we were, to the creator of digital learning products we are today."
The company first began exploring digital publishing in the 1970s, publishing its first multimedia encyclopedia on CD-Rom in 1989 and the first encyclopedia on the Internet in 1994. (Just a few years after this commerical first aired with, ironically enough, a young Donavan Freberg doing a report on space on a PC.)
Although the print version will be discontinued after the current stock runs out, Cauz said the thought process behind Britannica products will remain the same.
The company enlists the aid of experts worldwide and a staff of more than 100 editors who make sure all content is reliable and accurate.
They also plan to continue their educational endeavors across classrooms globally.
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