Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. will stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago.
Britannica usually prints a new set of the tomes every two years, but 2010's 32-volume set will be its last. Britannica president Jorge Cauz said the move is a natural part of his company's evolution.
"Everyone will want to call this the end of an era, and I understand that," Cauz says. "But there's no sad moment for us. I think outsiders are more nostalgic about the books than I am."

The top year for the printed encyclopedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold, Cauz said. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996, he said. The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.
The final hardcover encyclopedia set is available for sale at Britannica's website for $1,395.
"The sales of printed encyclopedias have been neglible for several years," Cauz said. "We knew this was going to come."
The company plans to mark the end of the print version by making the contents of its website available free for one week starting Tuesday.


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