I guess we all knew this day would come, didn’t we?
Is it the end of an era? Or is it the beginning of the inevitable?
The article says that the last printed edition was in 2010. My reaction: I didn’t realize they’d printed a new edition so recently! Honestly, I thought the hardcover editions of the encyclopedia had gone away a long time ago. Heck, I remember when I got on the internet for the first time in the early 90s – there were ads to buy encyclopedias on disks. If I remember correctly, either one of my early PC or my mother’s first PC actually came with some sample disks that had quite a bit of content on them. I haven’t used an encyclopedia for quite some time, unless you consider some of the more watered-down versions we can find on the internet (free sites).
Oh, how I remember living by the World Book Encyclopedia when I was in grammar school. C’mon, you remember it, too. If you attended elementary/grammar school in the United States, you swore by the World Book! How many of us were little plagiarists? Tell me you didn’t copy down everything World Book had to say about The Dominican Republic a night or two before your report was due in 4th grade. You know you did it. It was long before we knew what plagiarism was.
Yes, I have to agree – the time for setting out print editions of Encyclopaedia Britannica is over. We’ve become the “I want it now” culture. (There’s a little Veruca Salt in all of us, isn’t there? “I want it noooooow!”) In an age where college students need to buy text books on to read on Kindles and where publishers are addressing the “why isn’t so-and-so’s novel Such-and-Such in ebook format?! You’re losing sales because you haven’t gotten every book you’ve ever, ever published in ebook format!”
We want it here. We want it now. We don’t want to have to wait. We want to be able to take everything with us. If someone learns how to create a kitchen sink in an electronic format…well, I think you get it.