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Encyclopedia Britannica to Stop Printing Books

Encyclopedia Britannica has been printing encyclopedias in book form for 244 years, but no more. The 2010 edition will be its last. You have to wonder how many copies they sold since the last update. Britannica president Jorge Cauz is not as sentimental about the change as you'd think, as the change has been coming for a long time. The majority of the company's business comes from neither the print nor online encyclopedia, but from other educational products. The online version of the encyclopedia has been losing subscribers to Wikipedia, but will begin to offer some free content to entice new subscribers.
In a nod to those changes, Britannica is relaunching its site in three weeks to add more social connections and interactivity.

Cauz says he celebrates those changes, as well as the end of the print set -- which was first published in Scotland in 1768. In fact, Britannica is throwing itself a party on Wednesday.

"We're going to have a cake in the shape of a print set to celebrate," Cauz says, laughing. "Is that morbid?"

Link -via Boing Boing

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Were it up to me, the Brittannica website would be completely free, and updated regularly by professionals. Make it easy, reliable, and accessible. If you keep the brand name fresh and popular, then you'll make far more money than you would raising internet walls. Being exclusive means excluding customers.

That said, I'm sorry to see the books go. Such a pleasure to meander through them.
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Kalel wrote:

Were it up to me, the Brittannica website would be completely free, and updated regularly by professionals.

That may be possible, provided that Britannica can sell enough ads.
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