The Encyclopedia Britannica has printed its last bound edition

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Image Credit: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc./AP

Without a set of handsome, leather-bound Encyclopedias in your study, how are dinner guests supposed to know how learned you are? Now they’ll have to swipe through your iPad, as there will no longer be a print edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which has been in constant publication since 1768.

The reason behind the end of Britannica’s print run should come as no surprise. Updated every two years, the signature, 32-volume print edition sells for $1400. An online subscription costs $70 per year and the company has launched several cheap apps. Britannica felt the full impact of technology even earlier than most other types of print publications due to the advent of easier and more updated — if not as reliable — online reference tools.

The company will keep selling 4,000 remaining sets until inventory runs out.

Do you have a personal connection to the Encyclopedia Britannica? Remember the episode of Friends where Joey wanted to buy a whole set but could only afford the V volume?

Follow Stephan on Twitter: @EWStephanLee

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