Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ultimate Authority

You’ve probably heard that after two hundred and forty-four years Encyclopedia Britannica is ending its print edition as it fully embraces the digital age. This is a sad moment for all book lovers, and a powerful indication of what is to come.

To celebrate all that Encyclopedia Britannica has meant to some of us, I’m reposting a story that features these great books. This was the very first post at Chubby Chatterbox back on August First of last year. Few people saw it. The only comment I received at the time suggested this didn’t really happen, but it did. The post is called (Terms And Limits).


  1. Oh, what a mother you have! If you do start loosing your coif, we will know why.

  2. I was sad and nostalgic when I read they wouldn't be printing them. I laughed heartily at the post about your mom~

  3. It is sad to see so many things changing in our world. I think that is why people like your sweet mom get so volatile. They have had it up to their eyeballs in changes they disagree with. Cute story, though.

    As far as the Encyclopedia a kid I loved encyclopedias and when we finally got a set I was thrilled. But the Britannica, was limited to those that could afford them. The World Book and Funk and Wagnells were what the poorer masses got. Not that we weren't thrilled.

  4. I do not think I have touched an encyclopedia in 25 years at least. I love ebooks but only fiction, biographies and word-based self help in a digital format. Any reference book, books with a lot of diagrams or photos - those I like to have a paper copy - something I can highlight and turn the page and mark up. But that's just sentimentality isn't it? Because "I" prefer some books in print is not reason to chop down a bunch of trees. Which also brings up another thought - I do not really know where paper for books comes from - is it from recycled material?

  5. I saw this recently and really feel I need to do a post on encylopedias. My dear Uncle Jake gave us a set of Compton's which made such a difference for me and for my siblings growing up.

  6. I never used an Encyclopedia as all the ones we had in school were way out of date. I am surprised these guys have lasted so lonG :)

  7. I see you're figuring out how to build up pageview stats

    Nice work

    Oh, and you managed to quintuple the number of comments over at that post, too

  8. Brittanica probably could survive if it wasn't for the big push to buy American

  9. I suppose all the kids in school these days google to find their facts. It's just not the same. I can remember spending time in the library just going through the encyclopedia. Yup! I was nerdish before they invented the term.

    Times are swiftly changing. Many schools don't even teach penmanship anymore. The handwritten word is becoming a thing of the past, too. I may love the computer, but I will never give up a book in the hand or hand written letters without a fight. ;)

    1. This is a great story. I laughed out loud. Thanks for that. Your mom and my mom should meet. My mom is 90 and has very strong ideas on politics too. My brother would delight in getting her started. He would deliberately lead her into a heated discussion. You are a pretty darn good writer.

  10. I like your mother. Just saying.

  11. Loved your story. Is it possible your mother and my mother are related?

    I have conflicting views about having large, expensive sets of encyclopedias. When my first husband and I were first married, he got talked into buying a Funk and Wagnall encyclopedia with money we didn't really have. I admit it got some use by me, but at some point (about 10 years after we had bought it) I threw the whole set out in a fit of anger. I had come across an entry about homosexuality - the cause of which was attributed to events from childhood, such as an absent father or an overbearing mother. Of course I realize that a newer edition would not have that same article in it, but it made me realize how fast science or opinions can change; certainly faster than such mammoth, heavy, bulky hefts of paper.

    Yet I love books and wonder where we are headed without them. Probably the same place movie theaters were headed with the advent of VCRs, DVD and blue-ray place different.

  12. The post about your mom is hilarious. I adore books and cannot bear to see them replaced by robots. Pat Conroy signed my copies of The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides. If I didn't have them, would he sign a kindle? Nonononononononononono!

    Janie Junebug

  13. I'm going to miss those wonderful old books. They were a world of discovery and fascination in my youth. I also always enjoyed the great smell. I associated that smell with intellectual adventure. The post about your mother is hilarious.

  14. i've never actually owned EB - but am sad to hear of its passing nonetheless

    There's a great quote in The Simpsons where Bart and Homer are talking about some fact
    Bart: That's not what it says on Wikipedia
    Homer: It's ok son, we'll go home and re-write it later