The Encyclopaedia Britanica has announced that it’s printed its last volume as the company moves its business 100% online. It’s one more example of the demise of the physical as more and more of our lives and possessions are digitised. Once the last 4,000 copies of Britanica are sold, the encylcopaedia will exist only online, where it has found a new lease of life.
Encyclopaedia use was recently ranked 21st in Mozy’s list of the top 50 things that Brits no longer do thanks to modern technology.
In 1990, Encyclopaedia Britanica had its strongest year ever for book sales with over 120,000 sets sold. However, just six years later, the impact of the internet had caused that number to shrink by two-thirds to just 40,000. Just 12,500 of the 2010 version were printed.
With 120,000 articles containing over 40,000,000 words, the Encyclopaedia spanned 32 volumes and costs around £900. By contrast, 120,000 text files could be backed up to Mozy for free with our free 2GB MozyHome accounts.
As more and more of our possessions, from photos and diary entries to books and music, become digital, instead of physical, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that we back up to protect ourselves against losing them.
It may seem a shame to wave goodbye to the printed encyclopaedia but the information lives on in a more flexible way, which we can access anywhere and is much more searchable. All we need to work out now is how girls at finishing schools can balance the internet on their heads to practice their deportment…