In the new digital world, even old venerable standards like Encyclopedia Britannica must change with the times. After 244 years in publication, the iconic reference books will no longer be published. The entire Britannica series will now be available only in digital format. Britannica began Scotland in 1768 and is the “oldest English language encyclopedia still in print.”
With dropping sales of the hard-cover edition which sold for $1400, the reference trade publisher had little choice but to switch to digital.
The company said “the move was the latest in a trend of making more digital products available and expanding its range of educational products.”
Britannica’s digital offerings include an online subscription reference service for $70 per year, a soon to release app for the iPad and a children’s app that is already doing very well.
Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica said: “In the last four-five years we have noticed the volume of physical sales have dropped off. Print sales are now less than 10% of our operating profit. In 2010, we sold 8,000 print copies down from 120,000 in 1990, for example.”