Oh, goody. One more step closer to being able to completely rewrite history when the truth is inconvenient since it will only be digital. No eraser crumbs on those bits to give it away.

Whether it was a prized possession paid for in installments and lovingly displayed on the top shelf, a neglected doorstop, or simply non-existent in your household, you undoubtedly grew up familiar with the sight of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But now the days of the handsome gold-lettered reference books are over.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. announced Tuesday it will stop publishing print editions of its signature product for the first time in its 244-year history. In an acknowledgment of the shifting media landscape and the increasing reliance on digital references, the company said its current encyclopedia – the 32-volume, 129-pound 2010 edition – will be unavailable once the existing stock runs out. (If you’re interested, it’s yours for $1,395 and there are only 4,000 sets left.) The digital version of the encyclopedia, however, will live on.

  1. Rick says:

    I see plenty of complete sets of Encyclopedias at thrift stores these days, pretty much unread too since the spines still make a nice crackle when you open the book.

  2. GregAllen says:

    As a librarian, this is a big deal and it isn’t.

    It’s a big deal historically, of course.

    But students quit using encyclopedias a number of years ago. Not just those, but the whole printed reference section.

  3. smartalix says:

    I must admit I had expected print encyclopedias to remain around as a niche luxury product for collectors and institutions. I don’t like the idea of non-permanent storage for all our knowledge (not just encyclopedias) and it bothers me that hard copies of stuff are not being kept someplace!