In an age where Wikipedia rules our knowledge seeking minds the once dominant Encyclopaedia Britannica has announced that it will stop the production of printed reference books.
Encyclopaedia Britannica began printing reference materials 244 years ago however the collections 32-volume set has become economically silly with the 2010 edition costing a mind boggling $1,395.
The folks at Britannica aren’t going away, instead the Chicago-based company will now focus all of its efforts on the Encyclopaedia Britannica website located at britannica.com
Sounding optimistic about the company’s new direction its President Jorge Cauz told the New York Times:
“It’s a rite of passage in this new era … Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”
Speaking about his company’s attempt to battle Wikipedia Jorge noted:
“We have very different value propositions … Britannica is going to be smaller. We cannot deal with every single cartoon character, we cannot deal with every love life of every celebrity. But we need to have an alternative where facts really matter. Britannica won’t be able to be as large, but it will always be factually correct.”
Jorge Cauz may attack Wikipedia’s accuracy but a 2005 study by Nature actually found that Britannica’s accuracy was only slightly better with 3 errors per articles in 42 competing entries while Wikipedia had four-errors per entry.
Do you think Encyclopaedia Britannica can compete against Wikipedia by offering a more academically focused product that strays away from non-academic information?