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After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica going out of print

New York, Wed, 14 Mar 2012 ANI

New York, Mar.14 (ANI): After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.

 

Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered 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 New York Times quoted company executives, as saying.

 

In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age - and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia - Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools.

 

The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.

 

"It's a rite of passage in this new era," Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a company based in Chicago, said in an interview.

 

Cauz added: "Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it's much more expansive and it has multimedia."

 

The Britannica, the oldest continuously published encyclopedia in the English language, had become a luxury item with a $1,395 price tag. It is frequently bought by embassies, libraries and research institutions, and by well-educated, upscale consumers who felt an attachment to the set of bound volumes.

 

Only 8,000 sets of the 2010 edition have been sold, and the remaining 4,000 have been stored in a warehouse until they are bought.

 

Sales of the Britannica peaked in 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold in the United States. But now print encyclopedias account for less than one percent of the Britannica's revenue. (ANI)

 


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