After 244 Years Encyclopaedia Britannica is Selling their Final Print Edition With Shopify

After 244 Years Encyclopaedia Britannica is Selling their Final Print Edition With Shopify

 After 244 Years Encyclopaedia Britannica is Selling their Final Print Edition With Shopify

It's the end of an era. After nearly 250 years, the 32 volume Encyclopaedia Britannica is selling their last set of books - on their Shopify store. You can purchase their final print set for $1,395 US, which works out to about $43 per hardcover book. The whole set contains over 65,000 articles and 44 million words written by over 4,000 expert contributors. 

The first printed edition was sold in 1768 and over the years Britannica has sold over seven million sets. Contributors include some of history's most respected thinkers: Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Milton Friedman, Marie Curie, and Leon Trotsky. 

In going forward, Encyclopaedia Britannica will be focussing all of their efforts on digital. Here's a video they published to announce their decision to discontinue their print volumes: 



  • Beth
    March 19 2012, 09:08AM


  • Sci Anderson
    Sci Anderson
    March 19 2012, 10:28PM

    I still believe in the humble printed document.

    There is something in the tactile interaction with a well designed and beautifully produced book.

    Perhaps there is a market for a different printed product from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

  • Shawn Graham
    Shawn Graham
    March 20 2012, 09:54AM

    Although they might be gone for now, I’m guessing they will make a return in the future once they’re seen as vintage. You see it with vinyl LPs and the recent reemergence of manual typewriters.

    Hang in there, print publications. Hang in there.

  • Jessica Mullen
    Jessica Mullen
    March 20 2012, 10:00AM

    For most books I still prefer to have a hard copy. But this one is more than welcome to the go the way of the Dodo. There’s just no way a print volume could even begin to match the volume and capabilities of the internet. I still buy novels, textbooks, and darn near everything else I need in print though.

  • Matt Ivaliotes
    Matt Ivaliotes
    March 20 2012, 12:48PM

    Print doesn’t have to match the volume of the Internet, because the internet requires extensive vetting, because so much of the information is fraudulent, slanted, or produced by unqualified people. A properly reviewed reference still has great value. Moreover, so people’s eyes simply cannot handle computer screens for extensive periods of time.

    This is just laziness and lack of creative thinking by Britannica. They didn’t make effort to try and use things like print on demand, or a revised, less expensive structure to the encyclopedia. They just punted. This is not the action of an innovative, forward-looking company, but of a lazily managed follower.

  • Ed
    March 20 2012, 01:15PM

    Print encyclopedias have been becoming increasingly irrelevant for nearly two decades now. I’d rather use the internet as a filter to find specialized texts and journal articles. It’s more efficient than perusing an enormous stack of bound volumes that touch on a little bit of everything.

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