Encyclopedia Britannica Is Extinct and I Couldn't Be Happier

encyclopediaR.I.P., Encyclopedia Britannica. Ever since the interwebs made the scene you've been wondering when those cumbersome volumes would cease to be published, right? The day has come: After 244 years in print, the Encyclopedia Britannica is set to go exclusively digital.

Well, about damn time! That's what I say.

Perhaps you were expecting a more ... nostalgic sort of sentiment? Nope, I've been hating on the E.B. ever since the 2nd grade. That was the first year those crafty Encyclopedia sales representatives came to my school in the hopes of scamming innocent, hungry little minds like mine.


Their scheme was brilliant, at least the way I remember it: Some random grown-ups came in and talked to our class about the history of chocolate (nary a mention of the E.B.). For homework that night we were supposed to go home and look up the answers to a series of questions like, "Where do cacao beans grow?"

The next day, those of us who found all the answers would get Hershey bars. Woo-hoo!

Except here was the trick: If we didn't already have an E.B. at home, we wouldn't find those answers. We wouldn't get the chocolate. Instead, we would go home sobbing, begging our parents to get the Encyclopedia Britannica or else our lives were bound to be horrible!

We didn't have an E.B. at my house. We had a partial set of some other imposter Encyclopedia that was so old Thailand was labeled as Siam. Still, my mother didn't think it was necessary to buy the E.B.

(At least she bought me a Hershey bar for my pain and suffering.)

Anyway, ever since then I've resented the Encyclopedia Britannica. Information should be freely accessible for all people, not just kids whose parents care about the difference between Siam and Thailand! Knowledge is power! Knowledge is freedom!

Knowledge shouldn't take up so much shelf space, either.

Did you have the Encyclopedia Britannica as a kid? Will you miss it?


Image via Stewart Butterfield/Flickr



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