ebooks and the Encyclopedia Britannica

The Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be offered in print. (see link)

If you’re a traditionalist, publisher or reader, that is what’s commonly called a clue by four.

In library land, the Brit (well, encyclopedias in general but the Brit in particular) were one of the major regular buys. One of the ‘jobs’ libraries handled was purchasing the expensive reference on behalf of the community. The Oxford English Dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica were the two most common examples. The EB always had a major edge, however, as it could be and was referenced several times a year by students. As a result it was much more likely to show up in people’s homes.

Both have been electronic for several years. Heck, both have been internet for several years. It’s just, well, no more print.

Not even the specialized market, not even the fact that every library in the United States (much less the rest of the world) will buy a copy every one to three years, could justify staying in print.

I have said for a few years now that printed books aren’t going away. What they’ll become, however, is specialty items; they’ll become what e-books were. Many children’s books will remain print (unless and until readers become so cheap we’re willing to let our three year olds use them with little supervision). Books that contain things that need large displays such as art books and specialty atlases will also remain.

But the Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be offered in print. At this point, that the fight to keep print as dominate is a sucker’s bet should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.


2 thoughts on “ebooks and the Encyclopedia Britannica

    • It depends. Yeah, I know, but…

      Even though I know the problems and the risks, I often go to wikipedia first. Even if it’s in the middle of a change-war, the terminology and connections will be constant.

      And on some subjects I Google. I admit I don’t usually google like most people – I’m an information pro and using boolean searches and other limiters is second nature. But even so and knowing of problems and risks I’ll run that for some questions.

      Here in Georgia I’ve got access to Galileo. That’s a state-funded database gateway run by the university system that you access through your public library. You have to go to the library every two or three months to get the new password (they require face to face release to control open access) but that’s not much burden. Anyway, EB is accessible through it. It just takes a few more steps than Wiki, hence it’s second or third.

      In other states many libraries do this sort of thing. In your case I know Denver public library does, you ‘just’ need a library card. (available to all Colorado residents, and you can request and register online)

      So that’s the fast answer. Check with your library and the big libraries of your state to see what they’ve got and how you access it, and use that as your other.

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