After 244 years the Encyclopedia Britannica, the 32-volume, gold-lettered reference has gone out of print. The reality of the digital world and competition from the free Wikipedia website killed off the $1,395 US print version.
Mack grew up in a household where Britannica was proudly displayed. All 29 pounds of his family’s prized reference was sold at a garage sale a few decades later. Britannica only sold 8,000 copies of its last printed edition and print encyclopaedias account for less than 1% of Britannica’s revenue.
Perhaps a little sadly, Britannica is the latest of fading print publications – from reference books to catalogues – that are out already out of date the moment they’re printed and have, perhaps, outlived their purpose in a digital world.
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