Will you miss the physical encyclopedia?

encyclopedia, encyclopedia britannica, print, onomasticonEncyclopedia Britannica announced that they will stop publishing print editions of their books. The renowned encyclopedia publisher was not slow in jumping on the digital bandwagon: they published a version for computers as early as 1981, and they went online in 1994. Though they are no longer publishing print editions, the company will continue to operate digitally.

Of course, this doesn’t mean encyclopedias are going to stop existing, but no new ones will be printed.  This announcement raises questions about the eventual death of print. Did you grow up with an encyclopedia set at home? If so, you were probably born before 1980. The shift from physical print books to online sources is a generational one.

Even so, just last year American Heritage published the fifth edition of their dictionary, which was 11 years in the making. With the purchase of every print dictionary, they included their iPhone/iPad app as well. However, the media coverage around the publication asked, “Is this going to be the last printed dictionary?” American Heritage presumed there was still a public appetite for analog word discovery. Are there times when you prefer to use the paper version?

(How are words added to the dictionary? Find out here.)

Encyclopedias and dictionaries are different beasts, of course. Whereas a dictionary only hopes to define words, an encyclopedia includes a broader range of information. The Encyclopedia Britannica was a 32-volume set! Where does the encyclopedia come from in the first place? The word “encyclopedia” came from an accidental amalgamation of two Greek words. These books were originally called “enkyklios paideia” which meant “general education.” However, Latin scribes combined the phrase into one word.

Pliny the Elder wrote the first recorded encyclopedia recorded in 77. He covered topics from human physiology to sculpture to geometry. Encyclopedias were not widespread until much later when print was common. During the Renaissance, a number of publishers started making encyclopedias, including Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia (1728) and Diderot’s Encyclopédie (1751). Encyclopedia Britannica followed not long after these new editions. Published in Scotland, the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica came out in 1768 – 244 years ago! To differentiate itself from the continental encyclopedias, Encyclopedia Britannica used the word Britannic, which means “of Britain.”

You know what an encyclopedia is and what a dictionary is, but what’s an onomasticon? Take our essential references quiz to find out.

Will you miss the printed volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica?

Polo Battles Copies On Mauritius Island.(Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.)

WWD April 10, 2003 Outlets hawking Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise dot the island of Mauritius, part of a cottage industry of legalized knockoffs.Polo Battles Copies On Mauritius Island Byline: Bambina Wise PORT LOUIS, Mauritius – A visitor to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius could very well think she had died and gone to Ralph Lauren-outlet heaven.

The tiny island – at 1,150 square miles, it’s not much bigger than Rhode Island – has a population of 1.6 million and its beaches attract about 600,000 mostly European tourists per year. Tourists who leave the beach for even a moment are almost guaranteed to spot an “Original” Ralph Lauren factory outlet store – there’s no less than 500 of them on the island.

If that astounding number of stores isn’t enough to peddle the well-known brand name, clothing with the Ralph Lauren and Polo names also shows up in the tote bags of beach hawkers – so that even the most indolent sunbathers are pretty much guaranteed to have a shot at buying a souvenir from their vacations with the Ralph name on it.

One could easily think Mauritius would be the Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.’s favorite market. Except for one small detail: Every single piece of Ralph Lauren clothing manufactured and sold in Mauritius is fake. Yet the trade is legal – at least in the eyes of the Mauritian government.

The Ralph Lauren saga began in Mauritius in 1992, when Aurdally Bros. & Co. registered the Ralph Lauren trademark with the unsuspecting local Customs authorities. Aurdally Bros. was one of the first companies to set up garment-manufacturing facilities on the island, primarily for the domestic market. Garment manufacturing is now a key source of foreign exchange for Mauritius, which exported $254.7 million worth of apparel to the U.S. last year.

Strangely, after registering the trademark, Aurdally Bros. didn’t do anything with it, and the brand remained dormant for six years. go to site ralph lauren coupon

In December 1998, a group of businessmen set up a company called Captain Tasman and approached Aurdally Bros. to buy the license to produce Ralph Lauren products. For the first year, Captain Tasman paid Aurdally a licensing fee of $67,000, and began manufacturing T-shirts, polos and oxford shirts bearing the label Ralph Lauren, complete with the polo-player logo.

(All dollar figures have been converted from the Mauritian rupee at current exchange rates.) “I built up the brand from scratch in Mauritius,” declared Ajay Beegoo, managing director of Captain Tasman. “Initially, I had five shops selling Ralph Lauren products. Our production and distribution was carefully controlled; our quality was excellent. Soon, we expanded to 12 shops, and we were subcontracting to a few other selected factories.” One manufacturer, who requested anonymity, said, “It was a lucrative setup for both Captain Tasman and Aurdally Brothers. The owner of the trademark got his licensing fee up front every year, and Captain Tasman in turn sold distribution rights to various outlets for [about $1,600] a year. So everyone was happy.” Everyone, that is, but the real Polo Ralph Lauren.

A trademark license in Mauritius is valid for seven years, at which time it may be renewed. When 1999 rolled around, the Ministry of Trade and Industry refused to renew the license, citing a request lodged in 1998 by the New York-based creator of the brand.

Polo Ralph Lauren had asked the Mauritian government to expunge the trademark, which it considered to be illegitimate, unauthorized and improperly managed.

Aurdally Bros. and Captain Tasman filed an appeal against the government’s decision. In 2000, the Ministry announced that it would review the case.

The case is still under review, and many garment manufacturers have decided to jump into the game while the government mulls what to do. In some cases, they’re not even paying royalties to Aurdally Bros.

“It became a free-for-all situation,” explained Marcel Lapierre, a Mauritian entrepreneur who recently set up Fakebusters, a company that specializes in policing and safeguarding intellectual property. “Everybody decided they wanted a piece of the action.” While the scale of the Ralph Lauren counterfeiting industry here is enormous, it is by no means the only well-known brand illegally reproduced. Replay, Diesel, RipCurl, Versace, cK Calvin Klein and Kenzo have also been knocked off or traded illegally.

“This is a hugely profitable industry,” said Lapierre. “It easily brings in between [$33 million to $67 million to the Mauritian companies selling products with the Polo label] a year, at least.” Beegoo, of Captain Tasman, agreed the situation has gotten out of hand.

“I, myself, have practically stopped manufacturing Ralph Lauren products,” he said. “I now produce for and sell to only eight shops. This situation is downgrading the brand.” Despite his shaky claim to the brand name, Beegoo contended he has been a responsible steward of the image.

“I saw an opportunity to do business, and I grabbed it,” he said. “I really protected the brand and looked after it.” He said that he stepped in to stop manufacturers who had begun to export the bogus Lauren goods.

“I’ve taken legal action against several manufacturers and retailers. In some cases, I was successful in closing down certain shops, even putting some factories out of business,” Beegoo said. “These people were killing the market and bringing it down…What outraged me the most was that the public thought it was still Captain Tasman manufacturing all these poor-quality items. My name was being ruined.” In 1998, a Ralph Lauren pique cotton polo shirt cost about $30 on the island. Recently, an itinerant beach hawker, who proudly flashed his government “Authorized Dealer” permit, offered to sell a comparable shirt for $8.50.

John Price, U.S. Ambassador to Mauritius, said he has had to dissuade several visitors from purchasing the bogus Polo products – which even caught the eye of some attendees of January’s African Growth & Opportunity Act trade forum held on the island.

“We have to tell people ‘don’t go – it’s not the real product,’” he said. “The fact is, these outlets are not selling authorized products.” A Polo Ralph Lauren USA spokeswoman said: “We do not have a manufacturing or retail presence on the island of Mauritius – every piece of Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise produced and sold there is counterfeit. Once we learned of the counterfeit industry in Mauritius, we initiated legal proceedings to protect the integrity of our brand, and to help ensure that our customers don’t unknowingly purchase counterfeit Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise.” There was a time, almost a decade ago, when Mauritius’ then-developing apparel industry did legally make some Polo Ralph Lauren garments. Leisure Garments, a division of Hong Kong-based conglomerate Esquel, filled real orders in the early Nineties, according to Richard Chin, managing director. in our site ralph lauren coupon

Beegoo, of Captain Tasman, said he would like nothing more than to go legitimate.

“Ralph Lauren cannot stop what’s going on in Mauritius,” he asserted. “This case will drag on in the courts for years. So, wouldn’t it be better to make a deal with Ralph Lauren?” While acknowledging that “it’s easy to say that Customs should have known Ralph Lauren was an international brand,” Danielle Wong, director of the Mauritius Export Processing Zone Association, contended that “being an international brand, it is quite surprising that Ralph Lauren never bothered to register their trademark here.” Ambassador Price said he believes the Mauritians want to resolve this issue, partly to avoid having a black eye on the branding front at a time when the nation is trying to further solidify its place as a trading gateway to Africa.

He said the current free-for-all situation shouldn’t be allowed to drag on for too long. The parties involved, he said, “should get on with it and adjudicate, or work out an agreement and make a deal. It can’t be left in limbo indefinitely.” For its part, the Mauritian government has taken steps to address the issue of counterfeit production and trademark protection in general.

Josee Neta, industrial property office controller and acting controller of trademark, said, “There is a commitment on the part of the Government of Mauritius to create an investment-friendly environment in the country and to transform its economy into a modern and dynamic one.” Strict new laws on intellectual property took effect in January. They were not retroactive.

Neta said the former laws were “limited to patents and trademarks and did not achieve the level of protection nor enforcement required.” The new laws contain clear enforcement procedures and provide for heavy penalties such as steep fines and imprisonment, which, she said, “will act as a deterrent to the importation and sale of counterfeit goods.” Another key feature of the new laws is that well-known trademarks are protected, whether they are registered in Mauritius or not.

Neta said she believes these laws will help prevent further incidents of foreign trademarks being improperly registered.

Ambassador Price said he believes the new laws are a step in the right direction, but that it will take time to resolve the situation.

“This is not some small-room-in-the-back-of-the-house outfit,” he said. “This is a syndicate, a well-run operation with muscle.” Neta declined to comment about the Ralph Lauren case, saying that it is “of a very complex nature and has not been resolved by the court.” Price noted the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius has successfully intervened to stop the pirating of other U.S. brands. Last year, he said, Oakley approached the embassy with suspicions that some of its products that were made in South Africa were being illegally sold in Mauritius.

Oakley hired Fakebusters, which together with the U.S. Embassy, began to investigate and police the situation.

Their combined efforts resulted in a “successful clean-up operation,” according to Fakebusters’ Lapierre.

Price added that the Oakley cleanup had an extra bonus for Mauritius. He said Oakley was so impressed with the infrastructure of the local manufacturing industry that “they are sending a team to look at the island to set up here, to start a legitimate operation here.” Until the government brings an end to its reign, Captain Tasman continues to lead the strong trade in bogus Ralph Lauren products. Beegoo claimed that he’s not really hurting Polo Ralph Lauren.

“Look at the plus side,” he claimed. “We’re actually doing free advertising for Ralph Lauren…I’ve built up the brand for them indirectly. Does it really matter if it’s fake? After all, image is everything, isn’t it?”


  1. Shane -  April 10, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    I still have a set of encyclopedia Britannica and occassionally randomly grab a volume and have a read. I think to myself that it is a lot like learning form the net but there are no adds on the pages. Its almost disconcerting that the whole page it devoted to the topic. Mis the hyperlinks though.

  2. Jewels -  March 30, 2012 - 7:33 am

    Yes, I will miss the books. I already do miss them and I wish I was able to afford a good set of them. I love books. I love to own books and if I were rich I would have a library of my own in the house.

  3. mary torres ~lots of love ~ -  March 28, 2012 - 12:59 pm

    music is my life :)

  4. Mike -  March 22, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    Besides the prospect of mass power failure and the loss of access to online information, I think the more insidious problem with a total reliance (in the future) on Internet knowledge is its power to control.

    Digitial information is mutable and easily changed, whereas info in a book is fixed. Imagine this future: Gatekeepers of online information (Google, Bing, Britannica, etc.) giving different info to different people. Yes, content tailored to an individual’s tastes or political affiliations; so for Debbie the Democrat, she gets “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” without the N-word; Rob the Republican is given a history of World War II but tweaked to match his deeply held politics. Or maybe certain telling bits of info are strategically ommitted? (They already tailor advertisements to individuals.) The power to shape and misshape info would be endless, for good or nefarious ends. You can’t wield that kind of power with the printed word.

    So, the societal repercussions of an end to books is more than aesthetic or practical. It’s about who will control online information.

  5. mary torres so uncuffed -  March 22, 2012 - 9:38 pm


  6. Grammar Forever -  March 22, 2012 - 5:56 pm

    If people put all of the books on digital devices, where will we get our papercuts???

  7. phree -  March 21, 2012 - 3:31 pm


  8. Back Bencher -  March 20, 2012 - 8:48 am

    Last Comment!! :-(

  9. Avra-Sha Faohla -  March 19, 2012 - 3:22 pm

    I much prefer to have something tangible. It’s more convenient and quicker to use a computer, yes, which is why I’m grateful for computers. But that doesn’t mean I want books eliminated!

    First of all, books are more reliable. Digital information disappears when the device that holds it breaks. Books don’t break the way computers do.

    Secondly, I really prefer books if I’m doing any sort of lengthy reading because (1) you can’t cuddle up with a computer the way you can with a book, and (2) screens hurt my eyes.

  10. Error-E76-1 -  March 19, 2012 - 10:15 am

    Recycle it. (:

  11. Book of Eli -  March 16, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    Now I have to hoard Britannica in case its worth more someday :) Its always been very handy for me ! Hope we always have electricity. Can always read by candle light.

  12. janski -  March 16, 2012 - 4:35 pm

    Born in 1949, I grew up with 2, then 3 encyclopedias. The old ones were never tossed… they were a picture in time. The oldest was early 1920′s, pre-depression, post-WWI, with lots of old stories… and some that haven’t changed much. I used to love sitting on the floor in front of them. I could pick any book, any era and be entranced page after page. The next series was 1950 and the next was 1960. I will miss those quiet times… I still have the 1920′s version… what a hoot. My sister has the rest (she had kids, I didn’t). Computers are great, but I will miss those pictures in time.

  13. Cliff -  March 16, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    The dynamics that we all love when we say we love books is not going away with the demise of EB. Rather, the value of what EB offers in a world of paid subscriptions and dynamic content makes productions like EB quickly arcane in its content. A reality EB editors probably realized at the outset of going digital. All one has to do is look at EB’s site to see how developed the content is and how it in no way can be replicated in print. Also, since libraries are now more equipped that ever with electronic media subscriptions, it does no damage to the value of EB’s content within the serviceable function of library services; rather, I think, it greatly enhances it. (Caveat: I love books and I don’t have any desire to have them become the past.)

  14. Anon -  March 16, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    I was born in the 90s and we had multiple sets of encyclopedias at home…. I think still printing a few “library editions” whould be nice. And custom orders. I love online encyclopedias but I will never read an enovel. As Kay said above, I already sear my eyes to watch TV, play video games, and use the computer at home and at work, the last thing I need to do is read on a backlit screen.

  15. Nerdasaurus -  March 16, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    Now, if I can’t get a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, what will I put on the bookshelves of my obnoxiously cliché professor’s study? My tweed jacket will feel so lonely.

  16. tanya -  March 16, 2012 - 2:52 pm


  17. Lucy -  March 16, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    It’s like scrolls to books or writing to printing. That’s it.

  18. coldbear -  March 16, 2012 - 2:15 pm

    I don’t think that reference materials going digital-only signifies the death of print. It actually tends to be easier finding something in an electronic encyclopedia than a printed one. But that may be personal preference.

    I had a printed set when my children were young, and they used it; but we found the electronic version quicker and easier.

    Dictionaries, however, are probably best left printed (for the smaller abridged versions) as well as electronic (like this one). Sometimes, having a small hand-held dictionary is just easier.

    A number of people commented about preferring to read print books. that is a different animal, and I agree with them (I am an avid reader). But it has no relationship to encyclopedias and dictionaries.

  19. Cyberquill -  March 16, 2012 - 2:03 pm

    Perhaps the trend will reverse some day and Wikepedia will release a print edition.

  20. Chris -  March 16, 2012 - 1:51 pm

    I’ll miss the idea of the books, but I won’t really miss the books themselves. An encyclopedia is at its most useful when it is continuously updating itself, and it is much more practical for that to happen digitally.

    Books are more useful when they’re about individual topics or stories.

  21. KS Granny -  March 16, 2012 - 1:50 pm

    I should add, I do keep a dictionary handy where I do my crossword puzzles. And I have lots of non-fiction books on gardening, health, science, etc. But we donated our encyclopedia set to the middle school in 1988 and haven’t missed it since.

  22. KS Granny -  March 16, 2012 - 1:38 pm

    I’m 65 and haven’t missed an encyclopedia once since we got on the internet. What I get on the internet is easier to search, more up-to-date, and there’s a far larger variety of sources available. I’m a little concerned about what would happen if we lost internet connection for an extended period of time, but suspect that looking up facts would be rather low on my priority list – at least, if I have MY emergency preparedness kit and printed information for MY area printed up and accessible.

    Now, printed books I would have a hard time giving up – love the page turning and being able to flip through pages easily. But printed reference materials, no. They’re obsolete.

    Those with a constant need for reference material and an unreliable internet connection might find an encyclopedia on CD-ROM to be useful.

  23. Delva Rebin -  March 16, 2012 - 11:21 am

    As so often in life, this question leaves one totally divided. The ‘go digital’ side has two strong elements: cost of production and flexibility to update material. On the ‘keep the print’ side, I fully agree with the concern in the comment by Joe Selvey. With the threats of solar flares, terrorism and just the normal glitches we see everyday in our emails, the digital delivery is ephemeral at best. . . and, there is also just the feel of a book in hand!

  24. Biblio-and-infophile -  March 16, 2012 - 11:09 am

    I’d like to see the whole EB stay in print for mostly sentimental reasons, though I recognize it takes an immense amount of physical resources to print and deliver the number of copies required for adequate ROI.

    In its stead, I would welcome an EB “lite,” offered so that families w/o internet (there are many) can still access some up-to-date encyclopedic content in libraries w/o requiring them to get in line to go online, or have the opportunity to purchase it for the home environment, particular those without computers.

    Having an encyclopedia set to walk over to, browse, and physically sit with was a cherished and rewarding experience for me. Digital books can never replace or even come close to simulating the organic experience of their original, physical counterparts.

    That said, having a digital version of the EB, or any book, provides the superb advantages of effective and rapid search, extreme portability, quick acquisition, and greatly minimizes environmental impact in publication and distribution. Combine that with online access, and one copy can be shared amongst billions. (Now all we have to do is get the price for regular e-books to a level appropriate to the steep reduction in production and distribution costs so that more people can afford them!)

    I love both options and am saddened that one has left us.

  25. tom -  March 16, 2012 - 10:57 am

    books waste paper

  26. Jennifer D. -  March 16, 2012 - 10:28 am

    Yes one could blame the internet, however, we must acknowledge the fact that the new generations think of the encyclopedia as something that is esoteric and useless.
    We live in a society in which people that do not know the meaning of “OMG” or “LMAO” are viewed as socially backward… who needs a dictionary nowadays?.. let alone an encyclopedia!
    I will miss it I must say….what will nephews and nieces receive as presents?..Oh I forgot, a new iPhone!

  27. Nancy Poarch -  March 16, 2012 - 10:20 am

    Yes. There are places in VA that still don’t have good connections. When the electricity goes out at least you have something to read. I like having a book in my hand and I don’t have to stare at it and have popups.

  28. Mohamed Abdelkader -  March 16, 2012 - 10:10 am

    I grew up with the excitement of reading from an Ecyclopedia. The most prominent feature of printed Encyclopedae in my opinion is while I search for the entry I’m seeking, an interesting photo or a schematic, or an intriguing term would catch my eye and I stop to read about. This literally made me delv into many realms, and introduced me to the love of science. Now an electronic Encyclopedia is not a candidate to do the same, as electronic indexing and searching would probably get you directly to the article you are seeking.

    Not to mention this makes me more conscious about my age :).

  29. Kay -  March 16, 2012 - 9:46 am

    “Eventual death of print”? Really, that’s a tad dramatic. I love printed books, they don’t sear my eyes when I read them. :)

  30. Fat Boy -  March 16, 2012 - 8:49 am
























  31. Fat Boy -  March 16, 2012 - 8:48 am


  32. ed -  March 16, 2012 - 8:22 am

    Just wait until there’s a huge solar flare and all electronic media is fried.
    I like books anyway. There seems to be more immersion when reading a book rather than reading a web page. This format for dictionary is great, though.

  33. kuldeep -  March 16, 2012 - 8:06 am

    me too………

  34. Gina, book dragon -  March 16, 2012 - 8:01 am

    interesting comments….the question is “Will you miss the printed volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica?”

    No, not really. The copy I have access to is out of date. They’re expensive to update and take up a lot of shelf space. As long as there is a reliable source online, I’m okay.

    Some people are responding as if the question was ALL printed books. There will always be a market for both print and electronic books but you’ve got to admit, the shear volume of paper saved by not printing the Encyclopedia Britannica is staggering.

    I dread the day I cannot access my ebooks but will continue to purchase both formats.

  35. Bibb's Mom -  March 16, 2012 - 7:54 am

    I don’t know how old most of you are, but I grew up with encyclopedias and dictionaries. And one of the things you get with real books, is the ability to browse. You look up one word and then see something else right after it – it’s not related to what you looked up, but it’s interesting and so you read about it. I learned SO much that way, things I didn’t know I wanted to learn. There’s a sense of wonder and learning that I think is missing with the internet. Like newspapers – you can look at the heading of the article and the first few words and decide if you want to read it now or later. Finding things later without bookmarking them can be almost impossible on the internet.
    I’m just saying that, to me, the internet feels too random for learning. And I would truly miss books.

  36. mike -  March 16, 2012 - 7:44 am

    of course i will not, print editions are so clumsy and utterly useless

  37. mountainlupine -  March 16, 2012 - 7:27 am

    YES ! You cannot beat just sitting with a book and turning the pages and stumbling on a new topic. I love to just read the encyclopedia in the library. I cannot scan my Kindle the way I can scan pages, and every time I scan pages in an encyclopedia I find something interesting and new.Nothing can replace the book.

  38. A. Maldonado -  March 16, 2012 - 6:45 am

    Yes, of course!!! Nothing beats the printed paper… just a little light-source, a candle and, voila’…

  39. Dee -  March 16, 2012 - 6:31 am

    There are pleasures in a bound book that cannot be replicated with an on line experience. Just selecting a volume of the encyclopedia and flipping through it at random in search of a nugget of interesting information that is not specifically sought is one. Much like the joys of the old card catalogue where one could open a drawer at random and find something interesting that was not planned or even known previously. The electronic versions of both may be better for maintenence and for their actual purpose but the “accidental” joys of finding an unexpected treasure are not available on line. Progress.

  40. DJ RGT -  March 16, 2012 - 6:27 am


  41. neil660 -  March 16, 2012 - 5:53 am

    We all prefer dead tree object.

  42. StillLoveBooks -  March 16, 2012 - 5:48 am

    No, not really as I’ve along with everyone else use Google and Wikipedia… and of course Dictionary.com. However, in times when i just want to get off-line and read in the quiet low tech world of books I do use my One book… Columbia Encyclopedia. And the best part is getting lost in it & reading about stuff I’d never thought of looking up. Browsing in books is what is getting lost …. not the access to information which in absolutely incredible. Keep an old set around read them for the fun of discovering something you thought you weren’t interested in.

  43. Reg -  March 16, 2012 - 5:29 am

    I was born in the 90′s and my family did have an encyclopedia set, which I used regularly in elementary school for certain assignments. There was just something powerful about not having to wait for a page to load, not having ads on the side, and physically turning pages. But once I reached middle school, I started feeling like my set was “outdated”, and by high school it gathered dust while I used Google and Wikipedia.

    Since something can’t be changed once it’s printed, encyclopedias were bound to die with the rapid pace of new information. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that I think books are awesome.

  44. Prakash Talreja -  March 16, 2012 - 4:56 am

    I would be very sad to see the discontinuation of the print medium of the encylopedia. After all it has its advantages and it is a feast in itself for the eyes of the beholder.

  45. Prakash Talreja -  March 16, 2012 - 4:53 am

    I would be very sad to see the stoppage of the print medium of the encylopedia. After all it has its advantages and it is a feast in itself for the eyes of the beholder.

  46. Kyle -  March 16, 2012 - 4:37 am

    I use our encyclopedia set all the time. It is an old Funk and Wagnall’s, but it has come in very handy. I use online versions when I am already on the computer and working on a research project or something. I almost always prefer to feel paper and binding between my hands.

  47. ccrow -  March 16, 2012 - 4:16 am

    When the zombie apocalypse comes, survivors will not have access to electronic forms of information… (cue ominous music)

  48. Gunay -  March 16, 2012 - 4:09 am

    well, I do not miss it. electronic version controbutes saving Earth’s natural resources. Meybe they can give option for people who really love to touch to real paper. If someone order it then the printed version could be owned. But I personally think that printed version should be as expensive as people really love to touch them. Then meybe that people think twice and change their mind and controbutes saving Earth’s natural resources.

  49. Dave S -  March 16, 2012 - 3:05 am

    What is missing in the cyber world is the opportunity for random discovery. As a kid I spent much time thumbing through the pages of The World Book and Brittanica, discovering topics of the world – really, it opened the world to me. When I look up something online, I just go to that article, and that is it. No stopping at anything else, no picking up knowledge of random facts. Yes, e-reference is much more efficient, but it is very narrow and channeled.

  50. Alicia S. -  March 16, 2012 - 2:28 am

    My husband and I took the full encyclopedia set my parents were getting rid of a few years ago. I grew up with these books and used them all the time, because when I was in school – which wasn’t long ago at all, I’m 26 – you had to sight book sources for all research papers. I have an eleven year old step-daughter now and I’m socked that she has not once been obligated to sight a book source on any project. Her teachers are all perfectly happy with students using only internet sources for anything they do… and I actually think it’s kind of a shame. Anyway, now my husband and I have 32 enormous books taking up space in the storage room we’re working to clear out… but I haven’t got the heart to sell them.

  51. IQ -  March 16, 2012 - 1:22 am

    Encyclopedia Britannica should continue to publish both printed version and electronic. The printed version is a symbol of a tranditional encycolpedia, so it should not be neglected. NOTHING can replace it.

  52. Emilio -  March 16, 2012 - 12:14 am

    This is a great shame, for there is no way that Britannica can maintain its quality and directness by digitising its encyclopaedia. This very article indicates the literary level that people demand these days: short, basic, conversational sentences that would not challenge six-year-olds; ‘amusing’ snack-facts; and fifty flashing and distracting links. All this is but bright and confused noise and a further feeding of the monster of lazy skimming that now defines our digitised species. There is a reason for these heavy shelves of huge volumes, which is the accumulation of centuries of learning, and I am sure that Britannica will condense its articles for the basic digital pages, which are the extent to which people will pursue knowledge, rather than remaining a source of in-depth analysis and explanation – not to mention a peaceful paper place to visit. So the end of a printed Britannica is a symbol of our times: the end of browsing, the end of immersion, the end of patience – and, with the flick of a power-switch, the end of expertise and thus of knowledge. Keep your books, fellow Men.

  53. ru- -  March 16, 2012 - 12:14 am

    It is interesting how we surround ourselves with ads, which we are so easily distracted from, by clicking on it, or watching it, or even listening to it on the radio. But when it comes to surrounding ourselves with education, we simply limit our accessiblity to it.

    Dear Encyclopedia Britannica, it deeply saddens me that you have to deprive our accessibility to education because surely so little of us buy your printed versions, and are only interested in searching for what we want to know, and are no longer interested in what we could know. Your decisions only shows us that we do not want to be distracted by browsing through your pages of interesting information, and would prefer being distracted by the ads that will surround your page as we ONLY search for what we want to know, and nothing more. I also understand that your revenue is more important than our future education, and I understand that man is going backwards as opposed to forward, by choosing to surround themselves with ads instead of education.

    I hope someday people will realize that there is more to life than just the little world we deprive ourselves from learning and discovering.

    Yours sincerely,


  54. Dylan -  March 16, 2012 - 12:06 am

    I will not miss these things at all. For the recurring theme of “Oh no! All technology in the world is gone!!” If that happens, I’m pretty sure something world changing has happened and I have bigger problems then “Well at least I ahve my encyclopedias”

  55. Cassie -  March 15, 2012 - 11:50 pm

    I just wanted to say not true.
    Growing up, my parents and grandparents had sets of encyclopedias and I wasn’t born until 1991.
    I would frequently use them to help me with school projects and to read whenever I felt like it.
    Yeah, I’m proud to be a bookworm ;)

  56. _mark -  March 15, 2012 - 11:48 pm

    yes. but not as much as the stone tablet version. screw progress. kill trees.

  57. Mr. Ninja -  March 15, 2012 - 10:45 pm

    Hmm… WWIII comes, nuclear fallout and EMP blasts take out the internet and all electronics, and the technologically dependent countries fall apart and collapse as people scramble to relearn all the things the depended on technology for… what a lovely future we’re going to have!

  58. Amit -  March 15, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    Well, I think every serious reader likes to get the feel of paper in hand, to turn pages by fingers. Moreover, what nobody has mentioned here, is that books have always been a lovely gift for someone you love. Imagine giving your kid an iPad on his birthday instead of a book.
    Nevertheless we cannot aford to go on publishing tonnes of books every year destroying the little forest cover we are left with.
    It’s better to welcome the alternative.

  59. Sara -  March 15, 2012 - 10:13 pm

    I haven’t used a printed encyclopedia in years, hardly ever. But I use a printed (book) dictionary nearly every day. (I’ve also found printed thesauruses much more handy.) I don’t like dependence on technology. Plus, I’m often not at a computer. If I’m reading a book (or writing) and not at a computer, it’s nice to keep a real dictionary handy. I also hope books don’t die out. You can’t take electronic devices (at least not easily) when traveling or hiking or camping or canoeing, not like you can a book. In short, I won’t miss encyclopedias. But they had better still keep printing dictionaries. I will make an exception for medical encylopedias, which I use frequently. (Netter’s is instrumental and unequaled.)

  60. Chea -  March 15, 2012 - 9:40 pm

    While I entirely understand the simple access to a quick website, there’s just something comforting for me to physically own a collection. I suppose it would be more practical for a parent of small children. I’d sooner hand my kid a book than the internet. At the same time, I know that one day something awful may happen and the internet is gonna buzz out. Unlike most, I will be reading my ink and paper in my bomb shelter.

  61. Bevin -  March 15, 2012 - 9:31 pm

    I appreciate PCs and the Internet as much as the next technophile.

    But as I contemplate the errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation in the comments section, I have to wonder.

    Is there a relationship between the passing of print and near-universal illiteracy among youth in the English-speaking world?

  62. Jen -  March 15, 2012 - 9:30 pm

    I just love the feel of a buggy whip in my hand. It’s nothing like a steering wheel. I enjoy bouncing at 8mph over a rutted dirt road. Horses and carts will never go away completely. What will happen if we run out of this “gasoline” stuff after awhile, anyway? And how can we guarantee there will be replacement parts for all of these “cars”? Horses will still be there. And buggies. I love my buggy collection.

  63. Vanessa C -  March 15, 2012 - 8:43 pm

    This makes me really sad! :-(

  64. iq145 -  March 15, 2012 - 7:53 pm

    Books & libraries, also newspapers & periodicals, are quickly becoming obsolete. With the web, cellphones, Kindles, Tablets, Blackberries and a few other things… info has become easier and more plentifully obtainable (and more fun) than what a boring environmentally burdensome library or newspaper can provide! Say goodbye to books, especially phonebooks!
    Example: We’re here reading this site every day. This is more fun and more updated and more colourful and less messy and less burdensome AND it’s interactive. We save money and the environment

  65. NED -  March 15, 2012 - 7:38 pm

    No! I have not had a book encyclopedia in YEARS! I did have a set in my classroom but all they did was collect dust…..After they become extinct I think I will sell them!

  66. Yea right -  March 15, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    i hate it when i type gose instead of goes. :P

  67. Desirae` -  March 15, 2012 - 7:10 pm

    To see this article – as I happened to be using Dictionary.com for only reference due to being at work – I must say that it seriously saddens me. To think that after all of these years of research and editing and giving a great deal of information for the entire globe to share that this specific and expansive breast of knowledge is no longer going to be published…??? I am an avid book reader and can tell many that there is nothing, NOTHING, that compares to the look, feel, smell (yes, smell!) of the written/printed word. How, in many years to come, is the rest of the world and future generations to know of their history (or anything for that matter) say if something were to happen with the growth and all consuming popularity of today’s and tomorrows technology?? I grew up with the entire set and can not even begin to describe the amount of joy and wonder that I have always felt by being able to reach for any volume at any given moment. Computer’s are great but, they are not and can not compare to Encyclopedia Brittanica.

  68. Rustgold -  March 15, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    I don’t even use the online encyclopedia; for if I’m online, it’s google search. I do occasionally use a set of 1980′s World Books, and if I were ever to purchase a new set, it’d be a print version.
    There’s something about finding one thing, and then flicking through and discovering interesting things; which you could never feel with an online version.

    I predict an effective ending for Encyclopedia Britannica itself, for there’s nothing special with it as an online resource.

  69. Noob -  March 15, 2012 - 6:43 pm

    jUst blame the internet

  70. Noob -  March 15, 2012 - 6:42 pm

    just kidding books are cool it sucks encyclopedias are need comeing i have two have those i like books

  71. Noob -  March 15, 2012 - 6:40 pm

    They should not make books there boring

  72. Rhea Braithwaite -  March 15, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    books are the best things to read in your spare time than watching tv or using the laptop or if you have a kindle or nook you can read on it

  73. Wilson Wu -  March 15, 2012 - 6:18 pm

    @jay selvey I don’t think thats possible because there is no one main source or database for the internet.

    To me the Encyclopedias are very informative, but its just not convenient enough! I’m glad there going digital.

  74. Emilio -  March 15, 2012 - 6:16 pm

    This is a great shame, for there is no way that Britannica can maintain its quality and directness by digitising its encyclopaedia. This very article indicates the literary level that people demand these days: short, basic, conversational sentences that would not challenge a six-year-olds; ‘amusing’ snack-facts; and fifty flashing and distracting links. All this is but bright and confused noise and a further feeding of the monster of lazy skimming that now defines our digitised species. There is a reason for these heavy shelves of huge volumes, which is the accumulation of centuries of learning, and I am sure that Britannica will condense its articles for the basic digital pages, which are the extent to which people will pursue knowledge, rather than remaining a source of in-depth analysis and explanation – not to mention a peaceful paper place to visit. So the end of a printed Britannica is a symbol of our times: the end of browsing, the end of immersion, the end of patience – and, with the flick of a power-switch, the end of expertise and thus of knowledge. Keep your books, fellow Men.

  75. Jen -  March 15, 2012 - 6:09 pm

    While I enjoy my Kindle and the internet and stuff, I will ALWAYS prefer paper books. What happens when there is a zombie apocolypse and no electricity, and the batteries die in EVERYTHING? What then? I still journal the old fashioned way- pen and paper. Just in case…hahaha, no really though, paper books smell good and the weight in your hands makes you feel alive. I think this is a tragedy. The least they should do is allow people to special order a set of real encyclopedias if they so desire and make them per order.

  76. Lemming -  March 15, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    Never had an encyclopedia…but I will miss them all the same.

  77. adams -  March 15, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    ohhhhhhhoooooooooo I’ll still be rocking my books.

  78. desiree -  March 15, 2012 - 5:30 pm

    it will be missed… NOT! I HATE IT ITS TOO DANG BIG!!!

  79. Kevin -  March 15, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    And some day when all the computers crash and the clouds collapse our history will be lost with the long passing of the written word.

  80. DictionFan -  March 15, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    I’ve actually never read one and as a result, I will welcome the e versions with open arms. Also, an added bonus is that if you read this while in bed, and you fall asleep, the weight of your e reader won’t smash your face in.

  81. Scrivner -  March 15, 2012 - 5:00 pm

    I can see a continued – though diminished – need for a physical dictionary and thesaurus, but an encyclopedia was designed to convey the most current knowledge available on a range of topics, which is something a heavy set of tomes can simply no longer do. If nothing else, physical encyclopedias are quaint, nostalgic items to keep around for their historical value. I was born and raised during a time when encyclopedia salespeople still knocked on doors to sell their wares, and I definitely used them during school, but the internet has made information access so much easier and faster that there is no point in trying to maintain printed versions. Yes, I suppose we’d miss them if some kind of worldwide catastrophe occurred that rendered the internet inaccessible, but I doubt they’ll ever really go away.

  82. jamal -  March 15, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    Sorry I meant I was born after that time…

  83. jamal -  March 15, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    Well, I just join dictionary.com..as the paragraph stated..”Did you grow up with an encyclopedia set at home? If so, you were probably born before 1980″..But no I was not born before that time…As I said I am Just gettin into the studyin thing…

  84. Ebony -  March 15, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    i’m sure this has already been mentioned, but with the death of print comes the life of literally billions of forest-dwelling life forms, including the trees themselves, which the high demand of paper was killing. will i miss printed encyclopedias? maybe a little, but i think i’d miss life as we know it more.

  85. Nelsyboy -  March 15, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    At least there won’t be phony new Internet words published on paper… That would be embarrassing when we have to explain those to coming generations after the Internet goes kaput.

  86. Kris -  March 15, 2012 - 3:43 pm

    I don’t think they should stop printing encyclopedias. Nothing beats physically turning the pages of a book, though they do weigh down my backpack. As much as I hate lugging around up to 4 textbooks at a time, I would never want an electronic textbook. As light as it would be, it would be harder for me to find my page, and I prefer to turn my pages by hand, not at the push of a button.

  87. Jack -  March 15, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Going by the atrocious spelling in some of these comments, I think we need to master the basics that books bring before moving on to higher technology as our only alternative. Don’t ever lose the printed book. Would you say the same thing to a comic book collector? I think not. Books are just cool!

  88. niaapril -  March 15, 2012 - 3:26 pm

    i think they can continue more because i love to read them and not miss it

  89. Kathi -  March 15, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    Oh no. NO NO NO! I have several DVDs of encyclopedias, and use online sites as well. But I also have shelves of Encyclopedias, and if I had to pick one version to keep, it would be the print versions. I have a Kindle, but i still buy books. NOTHING replaces them. And if, God forbid, anything does happen and we lose electricity for any length of time…I’ll still be rocking my books.

  90. Vicaari -  March 15, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    Most definately it–Britannica Encyclopaedia–will be missed
    Prefer paper version always perhaps being not that smart
    Enjoyed the article

  91. i'm an UNbelieber -  March 15, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    nothing beats a book! ^^

  92. Monica -  March 15, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    I’m not mentioning anything that hasn’t already been said, but I love the feel of a real book. I still hope to to have a room completely devoted to being a library in whatever house I end up owning. The movement away from print may be deemed practical, but I will never prefer swiping my finger across a screen to turn a page or curling up in an armchair under a blanket on a cold night with a cold piece of electronics.

  93. Emily -  March 15, 2012 - 2:52 pm

    Well, there’s pros and cons to this.
    Pros: Saves A LOT of paper, and less chances of being outdated. Costs less, and saves time and space.
    Cons: Well, like people said, there’s no guarantee you can keep your new iPad’s information and files for years and years, while with a book, there is that guarantee. However, you don’t really need to keep encyclopedias for years; I’m pretty sure technology won’t go in reverse and we will still have internet in 20 or 30 years to look up information.

    So, I’d say this is a pro in general, because what’s the huge need to keep a book for generations that will get outdated? Going paperless will help our conveniences as well as the environment.

  94. Rachele Towers -  March 15, 2012 - 2:36 pm

    I’m going to miss printed books. I don’t care what anyone says. A book will always be better than the Internet, and books will always allowed in my school, while Kindles, Nooks, and other handheld electronic devices, except for calculators, are still not.

  95. George Nelson -  March 15, 2012 - 2:15 pm

    What will happen when the web is no longer accessible??? We cannot depend on it’s being here but a book you can have always. The web is susceptible to the whims of people and can be cut off but a book is yours.

  96. George Adams -  March 15, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    I know I’m nit-picking, but the publication’s name is “Encyclopaedia Britannica” (or more properly, “Encyclopædia”), with “ae” instead of the American “e”, as can be seen in the photograph at the top of the article.

    Although I no longer own a print encyclopedia, I relish my paper dictionaries, and consult them at least as often as I look up words on line!

  97. Raul -  March 15, 2012 - 1:28 pm

    I’m so sorry for its demise becasuse I always wanted to have one set.
    Nothing beats the emotion of searching through the pages of a real book, even that it seems old fashioned and obsolete

  98. NOAH -  March 15, 2012 - 1:12 pm

    I like books. i read them all the time. They should contiue making them.

  99. ENCYCLOPEDIA | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  March 15, 2012 - 1:10 pm

    [...] ‘Encyclopedia’ — Had to look that one up in the dictionary. — Not that we couldn’t spell it; — ‘Britannica’ sounds adversary. — ‘Americanized’ – reactionary. — Legitimized digitally contemporary. — Information is Power — Unless the Power’s exhausted. — Hang on to your Printing Press — If Mayhap, one day, the Cake doesn’t come Pre-Frosted. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]

  100. RichardCavanaugh -  March 15, 2012 - 1:02 pm

    Although i have become accustomed to the electronic version it still feels good to pick up a good solid book to read. I will miss the Britanica.

  101. RueHeart -  March 15, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    I don’t feel like they should just ‘erase encyclopedias out of our lives’. I grew up with a set at home, but was born in the 90′s. It just feels wrong.

  102. Chris Eaker -  March 15, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    I won’t miss it. I’m surprised it took them this long to eliminate the print version. I haven’t picked up a hard copy encyclopedia since high school in the early 90s.

  103. zedmelon -  March 15, 2012 - 12:42 pm

    I was more intrigued by the “eventual death of print,” but this article ends in a question which more generally be seen as the primary reason to respond.

    Between Wikipedia (can I mention that here?) Dictionary.com, and Thesaurus.com, I have no need to use my own printed encyclopedia, currently serving its ninth year of a life sentence boxed in my basement. No, I don’t miss it but haven’t yet mustered the resolve to permanently dump it.

    As implied above, my affinity for paper’s aesthetics is largely unshaken.

  104. zedmelon -  March 15, 2012 - 12:28 pm

    While I must admit I do ~95% of my reading on a monitor, demand for the printed page may abate but will always exist. Books can be shoved into suitcases, crammed into backpacks, and abandoned for years in a cold garage, never requiring update patches or an Authorized Repair Agent.

    Nifty though the Kindle may be, it can’t replace the tactile feel of manually turning a page in anticipation of the next line.

    Moreover my copy of 1984 hasn’t required fresh batteries since, well… 1984.

  105. mary torres so swagging -  March 15, 2012 - 11:49 am

    i like to get it beting up if you know what i mean lol ;)

  106. jay selvey -  March 15, 2012 - 11:37 am

    What’s going to happen if something happens to the earth and we loose internet capacity for an extended length of time? (Talking years here) How will people access information if not by the printed versions of the encyclopedia? It may be convienant for us to carry around access to the internet on our media devices but I, for one, say we should not become dependant on them. If the techonology fails, so does the society that depends on it for everything, 100% of the time.

  107. Maya -  March 15, 2012 - 11:36 am

    i personally won’t miss print encyclopedias. think about it, it’s not very conveniant. you can either lug around 32 giant books, each weighing around 5 pounds (thats a total of 160 pounds). or you can carry an Ipad/Itouch (weighing less than a pound) in a backpack, with all the same information.I am 12, and I have grown up in a house with an encyclopedia set my entire life. The only thing I ever used them for was flattening wrinkled pieces of paper.

  108. Renrut -  March 15, 2012 - 11:34 am

    At 74 years old I will not miss the printed encyclopaedia. To first find the book and then get in a good light, find my spectacles and then start looking for the article is a drag.
    To simply get on Google and pump in the info and get an instant reply leaves the book standing.
    Of course, a book can be wrong as it is written by people and so can the web also be wrong but nothing is perfect.

  109. Chris -  March 15, 2012 - 11:27 am

    How many people miss the loom, or horse-drawn carriages, or medicinal leeching?

    Given the increasing speed and importance of information technology, who still champions a reference resource whose information is outdated even before it’s published and whose ability to be parsed is unwieldy at best?

  110. Lillian -  March 15, 2012 - 11:21 am

    I love the feel of books. Turning the pages just feels right. I understand why it is unpractical for encyclopedias to stop printing, but I hope some still do. Not having in date print encycolpedias would be awful. When you use a computer, they do most of the work for you. Using books is a skill worth having. Computer encyclopedias are helpful, but normal ones shouldn’t stop printing.

  111. David E. -  March 15, 2012 - 11:07 am


    Nothing beats paper and ink.

  112. Phlondar -  March 15, 2012 - 10:12 am

    And Everything goes paperless…

  113. pinkie pie -  March 15, 2012 - 9:51 am

    baby come back,you can blam it on the internet


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