Encyclopaedia Britannica To End Print Edition, Go Completely Digital
Move marks latest step in firm’s evolution to digital education and instruction
CHICAGO, BUSINESS WIRE – March 14, 2012 04:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
- Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., announced today that it will cease publication of the 32-volume printed edition of its flagship encyclopedia, continuing with the digital versions that have become popular with knowledge seekers in recent decades.
- The Encyclopædia Britannica, which has been primarily an online product for almost 20 years, will cease to be available in book form for the first time in 244 years when the current stock runs out. It was originally published in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1768 and has been in print continuously ever since.
- The move is the latest in a series the company has made over many years in the direction of digital publishing and a wider range of educational products.
- “The end of the print set is something we’ve foreseen for some time,“ said Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. “It’s the latest step in our evolution from the print publisher we were, to the creator of digital learning products we are today.”
The company began exploring digital publishing in the 1970s and created the first digital version of the Britannica—likely the first digital encyclopedia ever—for LexisNexis users in 1981. It published the first multimedia encyclopedia on CD-ROM in 1989 and the first encyclopedia on the Internet in 1994.
As Britannica expanded and diversified its Internet reference services in the years since, it also used its acquired expertise in online education to move beyond reference and into the $10 billion school curriculum and digital-learning markets, developing instructional programs and e-books in math, science and the humanities now used in classrooms around the world.
In announcing plans to discontinue the iconic 32-volume set, Cauz emphasized that numerous digital versions of the encyclopedia as well as other Britannica databases for all ages are widely available, continuously updated and significantly larger than the content in the printed encyclopedia. The online versions serve more than 100 million people worldwide, and a new app that delivers the whole encyclopedia to the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch was recently launched.
The company is also moving vigorously in developing community features for its online users. At Britannica Online School Edition PreK-12, teachers share lesson plans. Britannica Online allows readers to make revisions directly to the encyclopedia, which are then published after editorial review and revision if necessary. Britannica language and dictionary subsidiary Merriam-Webster.com boasts community features in which visitors share thoughts on words and usage.
“We’re digital, we’re mobile, and we’re social,” said Cauz. “We’re a very different company from 20 or 30 years ago.“
What hasn’t changed, said Cauz is the way Britannica products are created and maintained. The company has a worldwide network of thousands of expert contributors and a staff of more than 100 editors who edit, review and fact-check Britannica content to make sure it’s accurate, reliable and up-to-date. Contributors include many scholars, Nobel laureates and world leaders, such as Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Ian Rankin, Francisco Jose? Ayala, Jody Williams, Chris Evert and Tony Hawk. The company works with and consults educators and instructional designers extensively in creating its classroom products.
To mark the retirement of the print set, the entire contents of the Britannica.com website will be available free for one week beginning today. More information is available at the Britannica blog: http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2012/03/change/.
Additional media resources can be found the on Britannica Corporate Information site: http://corporate.britannica.com/.
Notes to editors:
- About Encyclopædia Britannica:
Britannica was founded in Edinburgh in 1768 at the height of the period of European history known as the “Enlightenment”. Its aim was to publish clear, current and correct information, based on a scientific approach to knowledge.
- It is the most comprehensive and oldest continuously published reference work in the English language and is revered worldwide for its editorial integrity. Britannica strives to help its users become confident global citizens, by delivering expert and up-to-date knowledge and being global leaders in providing a source for life-long learning.
- Encyclopædia Britannica (UK) Ltd is a subsidiary of Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. who are leading providers of learning and knowledge products. Britannica is proud to be one of the world's most trusted sources of information.
- In 2012 Encyclopædia Britannica was named as one of the UK’s most respected brands in the annual Consumer Superbrand Survey. Britannica was one of only eight media reference companies to make the top 500 brands in the UK and was the only one to be listed in the top 50. At number 30, Britannica was voted more respectable than Facebook, Wikipedia and Microsoft.
- About Britannica Online & Mobile:
Today Encyclopædia Britannica has a larger and more diverse line of online and mobile products than ever before. Our outlook is shaped by our tradition of excellence and an understanding of what knowledge seekers need in the digital age.
- Since launching in 1994 Britannica Online has grown and developed an extensive range of online products for learners of all ages. The largest and most comprehensive is the Online Academic Edition, which delivers relevant, web-based content for further and higher education. It is continuously updated, revised and developed with new articles, allowing its users to research confidently with expert information and a host of research tools designed to support advanced study. For schools, the Online School Edition provides a comprehensive reference and education service specially designed for primary and secondary schools, while the Online Public Library Edition, delivers three encyclopedias for different levels, under one product.
- Alongside the traditional encyclopedias, Britannica has also increased its offering to educational institutions through two innovative products, Image Quest and Britannica Pathways: Science. Image Quest provides access to more than two million stunning images, sourced from some of the best collections in the world. Britannica Pathways: Science supports effective teaching for students aged 11 – 14 and tackles common misconceptions through interactive and discussion-led resources.
- In 2011 Britannica began an ambitious mobile publishing programme, launching nine titles in a series of educational mobile apps for children aged 8 -12 on a range of platforms. The nine titles were shortlisted as finalists in the 2011 e-learning awards in the Best use of Mobile Learning category. Following the launch of Britannica Kids Apps, a series of 60 games-based revision apps for Key Stages 2 – 4 will be released in the near future under the Britannica SmartStudy brand.
- For further information about Britannica and its products, please visit:
Follow Britannica on Twitter: @Britannica_UK
Britannica Flickr Feed: www.flickr.com/photos/britannica_image_quest/
# # #
For further information, please contact:
2nd Floor, Unity Wharf
London SE1 2BH
DDI: +44 (0)20 7500 7805
Fax: +44 (0)20 7500 7878