The venerable Encyclopedia Britannica will go online only for future editions. Its last edition, produced in 2010, spanned 32 volumes and weighed 129 pounds. The company says it has no plans to sell another print edition after its current stock runs out.
Often considered the most scholarly of encyclopedias, Britannica was founded in 1768 in Scotland and has been in print continuously ever since.
"The end of the print set is something we’ve foreseen for some time," said Jorge Cauz, President of Encyclopaedia 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, creating the first digital encyclopedia for LexisNexis users in 1981. It produced a version on CD-ROM in 1989 and was the first encyclopedia on the Internet in 1994.
"We’re digital, we’re mobile, and we’re social," said Cauz. "We’re a very different company from 20 or 30 years ago."
Competing encyclopedia such as Colliers has not been in print since 1998; the Encyclopedia Americana was last published in 2006.