Can you imagine that Board Meeting where someone had to convince a 244 years old company that what they have been doing for over a 2 centuries will cease to exists as all information is moving online into Cyber Space and the Information Super Highway will take over… (remember those terms ?)
And that is exactly what has happened. The publishers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica are going to announce that they will no longer be printing the hard-copy bounded volumes making the 2010 the very last edition of the 244 year run of the encyclopaedia.
However, unlike Kodak, its not all doom and gloom.
“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," Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. told the The Times.
Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopaedias and educational curriculum for schools and not worry about celebrity news and every new gadget that hits the market – that will still be done by Wikipedia with the thousands of editors around the world and the wisdom of the crowds correcting information.
Encyclopaedia Britannica is still available online and there are over half a million people who pay $70 for full access every year. Not such a bad business to be in then…
The publishers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica were clearly keeping their eye on the trends and started to invest heavily in their online presence. They created a tool that is always accurate, carefully edited and interactive. They knew that a time would come where the printed copies would stop due to high cost and low demand and therefore they geared themselves to continue to provide their services but just in another format. They have even branched out into mobile Apps.
An awesome example of innovation by a company that is thinking and looking ahead.