Encyclopedia Britannica’s announcement that this year’s run of books will be its last has jolted demand back to life, helping the company sell all but 800 of its 4,000-set run.
A company spokesman explains the hotcakes-like sales to USA Today as a sign that some see the final edition of Britannica’s encyclopedias as keepsakes and possible investment opportunities:
“When people thought they were going to be around forever there was no rush to buy one and then suddenly, boom, and now there is a scarcity and it’s a collector’s item.”
The company is moving to an online-only model, ending its 244 years in print. And children will henceforth follow the adventures of plucky know-it-all Wikipedia Brown as he solves neighborhood crimes in young adult e-books.