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March 14, 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica Ceases Paper Publication

Britannica has announced that it "will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools." Their online edition is free this week, they say. The N.Y. Times article says the usual fee for that is $70/year. Let me give you a sample article from the online edition:

Coachella Valley, valley, part of the Colorado Desert, extending northwestward for 45 miles (70 km) from the Salton Sea (a shallow saline lake) through Riverside county to the San Gorgonio Pass, southern California, U.S. It is 15 miles (25 km) wide and lies between the Little San Bernardino Mountains (east) and the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains (west). Irrigation, notably from the Coachella Canal, has created a productive agricultural region, specializing in date gardens and also supporting citrus fruits, truck crops, cotton, and alfalfa. The city of Coachella sprawls in the heart of the valley and is a shipping point for its produce. In the northern part of the valley are popular desert resorts, including Palm Springs. The valley had two names before 1900: Cahuilla, after the Cahuilla Indians who inhabited the vicinity, and Conchilla (Spanish: “Little Shell”), which referred to the existence of fossil shells in the area. A misspelling of the latter name on an official map resulted in the current name.

That's a bit less information than I'm used to getting when I look something up online. Only two cities in the valley are identified. No demographic information. No map. Compare the Wikipedia article on Coachella Valley.

The last paper edition of Britannica was published in 2010. They produced 12,000 copies. 8,000 have been sold. The full price is $1,395.

I once knew a radiologist in Brookline, Massachusetts, who was reading his Encyclopaedia Britannica in alphabetical order, article by article. He was not fun at parties.

Filed under Books,Technology | permalink | March 14, 2012 at 08:28 AM

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