With 244 years gone by, Britannica says good-bye to the print version of their encyclopedias.
At Southwestern Advantage, we have a great deal of respect for the company and their encyclopedias. After all, we know what it means to be successful selling books door-to-door. So it is with sadness we bid that part of their business model a fond farewell.
Britannica was the oldest continuously published encyclopedia in the English language. The set was first sold to families door-to-door in 1932. While Southwestern Advantage had a number of years over Britannica on the direct selling market, the lore of having a set of Encyclopedia Britannica on your bookshelf was a source of family pride. We know because we often sold our educational resources to the exact same customers. Families are tuned in to the educational needs and resources in the home. And they still are!
There’s some debate about what format families prefer the educational resources in their homes to be. With the Internet and Wikipedia, some people feel printed material is winding down in popularity. In fact Britannica cited this as a reason for their decision to shut down the printed edition of the popular encyclopedias.
While Southwestern Advantage has adapted to technology by incorporating a website, books and CD-ROMs into a learning system, the value of books to the home can not be understated. Do children curl up with their parents at night to read a bedtime story on the internet? I hope not. For the same reasons, children enjoy having something tangible to get their hands on to look at.
The true value of a book is in the results or entertainment you get from reading it. So long print-version of Encyclopedia Britannica! You will be missed.