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After 244 years of publication, Encyclopedia Britannica stopped production of its iconic multi-volume print edition. The announcement was made on March 13, 2012. Britannica had been printing a new set of the biennial tomes but it was decided that 2010's 32-volume set would be its last. Britannica decided to focus solely on its digital encyclopedia and on other education tools such as mobile applications.

Encyclopedia Britannica has now gone fully digital in acknowledgement of changing technology and with a view to better compete with the like of Wikipedia. In 1981, the company published its first digital encyclopedia in the world. By 1989, it launched its first set of multimedia encyclopedia available on CD ROM. With the Internet boom, the online version of Britannica went online in 1994 and by 2000 the company had launched its earliest mobile applications, putting the entire encyclopedia on Apple devices by 2011. While it has saddened Britannica loyalists to see the last of the print editions go off the racks, the move makes better business sense since the print version represented only about 1% of the company's sales in February 2012.

In their March 13, 2012 blogpost called "Change: It's Okay. Really." Britannica wrote -

"Today we've announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone... in a larger sense this is just another historical data point in the evolution of human knowledge. For one thing, the encyclopedia will live on—in bigger, more numerous, and more vibrant digital forms. And just as important, we the publishers are poised, in the digital era, to serve knowledge and learning in new ways that go way beyond reference works. In fact, we already do."
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Last Updated on: September 30th, 2021