Encyclopedia Britannica, the oldest English-language encyclopedia still in print is moving solely into the digital age. It is the
latest move Encyclopedia Britannica has made to expand its Internet reference services.It first flirted with digital publishing in the 1970s, published a version for computers in 1981 for LexisNexis subscribers and first posted to the Internet in 1994.
“After 244 years in print, the 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica will be discontinued, but the encyclopedia will live on and grow in the myriad digital forms which have been popular with millions for years. In announcing the end of the print set, in March 2012, we also stressed the wide diversity of our product line today, which includes not just reference works but curriculum and learning solutions used in schools around the world,” said the company in a statement.
“The print edition became more difficult to maintain and wasn’t the best physical element to deliver the quality of our database and the quality of our editorial,” Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica, told reuters.
As to whether print editions of books will be viable products in the future, Cauz predicted, “print may not completely vanish from the market, but I think it is going to be increasingly less important. Many publications will never have a print analog and will only be printed on digital formats.”