William Smellie, who co-created the first Encyclopedia Britannica in Edinburgh 244 years ago. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Printed Encyclopedias Were Once A Rare Source Of Knowledge. But No More -- Ian Jack, The Guardian
Information – 'the sum of human knowledge' – had a different shape in the era of the printed encyclopedia
There can be no clearer evidence of the swift and steep decline of the printed reference book than these figures taken from a recent New York Times: In 1990, the Encyclopedia Britannica sold 120,000 sets (each set comprising 32 volumes) in the USA. That turned out to be its peak year. Since its last revision in 2010, it has sold only 8,000 sets in the same market. Another 4,000 sets lie in a warehouse. When the last of those goes, the paper-and-ink Britannica will be no more. This week its publisher announced that future editions will appear exclusively online, bringing to a close a printing history that began in Edinburgh in 1768.
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My Comment: I concur .... the web has changed everything.