The End of One Chapter and Beginning of Another… A Farewell to the Volumes of EncyclopaediaEncyclopedia Britannica

By Amanda Pecora, Intern

There has been continuous talk of the digital world replacing all print magazines, newspapers and books within the next decade. On Tuesday, print’s demise began as the world-renowned Encyclopedia Britannica announced it would no longer be publishing their 130lb. print book. Browsing through the ultimate point of reference that defined our culture and history will be a thing of the past, as websites like Wikipedia rise up as the number one source of research and information. The company blog released a statement saying, “For 244 years, the thick volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica have stood on the shelves of homes, libraries, and businesses everywhere, a source of enlightenment as well as comfort to their owners and users around the world,” reports its blog. “Today we’ve announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone.”

As usual, people took to social media and online articles to comment on this surprising event. There were those that could care less and made comments such as “good riddance,” “RIP you won’t be missed,” and “Wikipedia rules and Encyclopedia Britannica drools.” I personally think that’s a little harsh for a book that was alive before those people’s great-great grandparents were even born.

Then there are the people like me that remember the Encyclopedia as it should be, a huge part of education, history and my childhood. My teachers would assign class research projects where each student got a volume and could pick topics to write about. My grandparents had a set in their house that my cousins and I looked through when we couldn’t go outside to play. I don’t understand how someone could not feel an ounce of sadness for something so influential? It brings back that feeling I got when they took away all the good Nickelodeon shows like “Rugrats” and “Doug”. It’s just something that you wish never happened, but I guess all good things must come to end.

It is inevitable. Gone will be the times of bringing a magazine and/or newspaper to work and it will be replaced with typing in a web address and staring at a computer screen for information. Luckily for the Encyclopedia Britannica, they already have developed a digital side and will be transforming it to keep up with everybody else. The company plans to amend portions of their site. Fans are hoping that it eliminates or at least decreases the membership fee which goes for $70 per year or the $1.99 a month fee for the mobile app. Although with free options like Google and Wikipedia, it seems Encyclopedia Britannica just can’t compete, no matter how big of a cultural icon it once was. I can’t help but wonder which publishing company will end their print version next… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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