All good things must come to an end…It was a good run while it lasted…RIP Encyclopedia Britannica print edition

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Childhood….Ahhh those were the days of no responsibility where my only recollection of money was that my parents had it and I needed it to buy candy or that new toy.  But what I do remember as a youth was that my parents subscribed to Encyclopedia Britannica.  I asked my mom a while back how they ended up with the encyclopedias and she gave me the spiel where a salesman came door to door saying something about how it was going to be the way of the future.  They had just had me as their first child and they didn’t want me to be left behind as everyone else was subscribing.

Well, Encyclopedia Britannica is calling their 2010 print edition of the famed 32 volume print edition its last.   What are your thoughts on this?  Well here is what I have noticed first hand in our community.  If you take a look at another post of mine…hmmm where is it…oh here it is, I am on the board of directors for an organization that does a lot of things for the community.

Part of the organization that I am part of restores architecturally significant structures in our community that have a historic presence whether they be related to a former president or some other prominent figure.  Well two buildings that the organization owns have fallen into disarray and at the moment we are securing large grants to restore the buildings.  We reached out to the community as one of the rooms has a library and we are trying to furnish it.  You would be surprised at the number of editions of encyclopedias that people were willing to give away just to get them out of their houses.  The organization didn’t receive many other books other than print editions of encyclopedias. 

The sad thing is that my parents spent a good deal of money back in the day to purchase these, so that they would be able to provide what they thought was the best for us.  You may not consider it an investment as you would think of but it was an investment in mine and my siblings’ futures.  There were a few times back in grade school where we used the encyclopedias but they basically sat untouched on the shelves for many years.  They are actually still on the shelves sitting there taking up space in the virtual age where you don’t even have books anymore, thanks to Kindle and Nook.

Has anyone reading this article subscribed to this recently other than libraries?  For $1,400 dollars that seems quite lofty to keep an updated edition every 2 years with the amount of information on the internet.  I am honestly surprised that they stayed around this long with the internet.  Don’t worry though they are not going away they are focusing more on their educational content and digital editions of the encyclopedia.

Thoughts…What are yours??

 PHOTO BY: peppergrasss

17 thoughts on “All good things must come to an end…It was a good run while it lasted…RIP Encyclopedia Britannica print edition

  1. I too have a set sitting, dusty on my shelves. I think that they will probably be worth something in a couple of decades but the day of the encyclopedia is definitely over.

    1. @ MultiMillionaireRoad – Very nice. It would be cool if someday they were very valuable. Or even if not valuable something to pass on to young kids because they will have no idea what print material is when they are older. Our kids are 1 and 2 1/2 I sometimes wonder what kind of technology will be around when they are older.

  2. That’s pretty sad. I remember having the Encyclopedia Britannica collection in our house when I was growing up. It helped me a lot with schoolwork and was great just as a great reading source in general. Unfortunately, $,1400 is pretty steep for me right now. But, you’re right that it’s pretty amazing that it has been around this long.

    1. @ Anthony – for some reason I never enjoyed reading. Now if it is personal finance related or some way to make money I’ll read it up really quick. I never just flipped through the encyclopedias to find interesting material. I am sure that the bulk of our set never was even taken off the shelves other than to clean around them. It is a sad day, but an inevitable day that had to come eventually.

  3. I was sad when I read that. I remember doing homework and sifting through our Britannica’s. I actually used them a lot. I think we eventually had a subscription online as well. It’s crazy how quickly the internet capitalized on just about everything!

    1. @ Paul – pretty soon everything is going to be online…we just heard Encyclopedia Britannica is going online. It is only a matter of time until most of the newspapers a published online. That is the only way that I read the news currently. The only thing we subscribe to at home is Golf magazine, even with that my swing hasn’t improved. 🙂

  4. I love this post. It made me nostalgic. There was a time when having these encyclopedia in your library was not only the status symbol, but also the only handy way to find information before the advent of Internet. It’s amazing that, with time, some of the things just fade away. That applies to corporations as well.

    1. @ Shilpan – you are spot on. Good post. Corporations fade as trends go. IBM used to be the big maker of computers, now they transitioned to mainly consulting and software company. I remember having to go to the library just to use the encyclopedias to have a citation in my school papers because the teachers wanted atleast one encyclopedia.

  5. Wow this post made me flash back to 5th grade library hour. We had to get up one at a time to get a volume, then we wrote reports using it as a reference. Old school man!

    1. @ Nell – the good ole days. The days of no responsibilities. The only worry we had was what friends we were going to hang out with after school. Sad thing is our kids will never get to experience the encyclopedia the way we did.

  6. well if things won’t change things won’t improve. now we have Wikipedia which is accessible to us anytime anywhere – for Britannica you need to go to a library

  7. Ahhh! That’s sad 🙁 I loved Encyclopedia Britannica when I was little. We had a full volume and I thought they were so cool. Plus, if we ever needed to know anything we could look it up in the encyclopedia 🙂 Ha!

    1. @ Daisy – I know what you mean. The good ole days before computers, once the computer came around they just sat and collected dust. It is very sad. Makes me feel old too and I’m not 30 yet!

  8. I wanted to be rich enough to get the whole thing! I got three volumes at a garage sale once and I LOOOOOOOOOVED it.

    Even reminiscing makes me sound old.

    1. @ Frugal- that is all that we have at the house the organization is trying to restore. People were so quick to get rid of them. I think they were of the mindset that they didn’t want to throw them away because they spent so much but they didn’t want them around anymore too. Needless to say we have about 10-12 full editions of encyclopedias that we are using to fill the library at the mansion.

  9. I had encyclopedias when I was little, world book (children’s edition) then another “real” set for adults. I bet the same salesperson who sold your set to your parents also sold my parents a set 😉 My dad was convinced that I “needed” them to be a good student (I’m not sure I ever opened them…shh). I guess it’s a little sad, but also a nice that the Internet has leveled the educational playing field for lower income families who can’t afford a fancy encyclopedia set.

    1. @ Kari – He was a good salesman, it seems he got everyone to buy!

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