Digital Takes Over Encyclopedia Britannica

March 15, 2012  |  Books, Random

Earlier yesterday when I was at work catching up with the latest news all over the world I found an article on Reuters that basically told me that books are closer at becoming extinct now than they have been this past decade.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

I mean e-Books have destroyed book stores and laid off people as well as gotten rid of the social aspect of going out to purchase a book but who would’ve thought that Encyclopedias will no longer be available in print and will only be available in the digital world.  You might not know it but Encyclopedia Britannica was one of the first digital encyclopedias available but the most popular would probably have been Microsoft Encarta.  I remember using that disc on the family computer back in the mid-90s (ahhh the Good ol’ days!)

“The print edition became more difficult to maintain and wasn’t the best physical element to deliver the quality of our database and the quality of our editorial,” Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., told Reuters.

Yet even as publishing industry has created more digital products, it has struggled with financial losses, and Cauz admitted to a “long road to profitability” for many publishers.

“Britannica was one of the first companies to really feel the full impact of technology, maybe 20 years ago, and we have been adapting to it, though it is very difficult at times,” he said.

While Encyclopedia Britannica has continued to operate, he expected “many trade publishers will not survive — and any content development company will have to be thinking about how they are going to fill the gap.”

As to whether print editions of books will be viable products in the future, Cauz predicted, “print may not completely vanish from the market, but I think it is going to be increasingly less important. Many publications will never have a print analog and will only be printed on digital formats.”

With its scholarly, reliable reputation, Encyclopedia Britannica had not been affected by the popularity of free website Wikipedia, he said.


So the gist of the article was that Encyclopedia Britannica which was first published in Edinburgh, Scotland 1768 (gosh darnit that’s like eons ago!) will no longer be supplying you with their printed editions instead their digital versions will be available online for an annual subscription of $70. Previously the 32 volume printed edition would sell for $1400 which would be updated every 2 years. Because we are now insanely digitized and everything has to be available on an app they have already started supplying others with those and these apps range between $1.99 and $4.99 per month.

The company mentioned on Tuesday that they will keep selling their printed editions until their current stock of 4000 encyclopedia sets run out.

I just can’t believe it. I do hope that books do not become extinct but at the same time I kind of do simply because it would save the trees that we have and we would become more eco-friendly. Anyways, I just thought this was something insanely interesting and worth a sharing with the world.




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About the author

I am a Kuwaiti Apple and gadget girl freak, who gets bored of her blog layouts so much that I change them like I crazy. Currently I work in a newspaper and if you don't see me around I'm being sucked into my job reviewing TV Shows and APPS! This is my space where I vent and release everything, welcome to it.


  1. i saw that on the news a yesterday & it really saddened me! This is very very awful! i hate e-books & i hate technology so much for ruining such a sacred form of literature!

  2. Hello! You’ve been tagged in The Eleven Questions Tag

  3. This is kinda scary! Nothing can ever beat the feeling of actually holding a book, cuddling up and flipping through it’s pages

  4. We have a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, but I think its form the early 90s! or late 80s! They seriously had so much information in those books it amazed me, I searched through them a lot! I don’t know why but I have the urge to get me copy now!

  5. swera : But in a way it’s not ruining literature it’s bringing it to the masses even more and saving our tree life for our future generations if you think about it.

    Danderma : Another tag! Hehe will do that soon! :P

    r.alsharif : I know but sometimes books cause killing trees and no trees means no more oxygen and we all die :s

    Marzouq : We have a copy somewhere around the house too an old one hehe but think about it books are the reason that trees will one day be extinct so even if they go digital and stop the manufacturing of such they’re saving tree life.