Two and a half centuries!

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez -

Two hundred and forty-four years. That’s almost two and a half centuries! That’s how long the Encyclopedia Britannica has been publishing its sets. First published in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland, it has stopped printing but will now focus on an online edition. Prints of their last run are still available until the supplies last. So if you’re a collector, this edition may be just the thing for you. I grew up with encyclopedias throughout my formative and learning years. Since there was no internet from which to gather information, things were done the hard way by going to the library or hitting the encyclopedias. Of course, most famous of these is the Britannica. With its thick volumes and small print, you knew what you were finding was in those pages. I can still smell the pages of our set! It just brings me back.

 Like many things, the printed version of the Encyclopedia Britannica has fallen victim to the internet. The world wide web has made this, and so many other things, obsolete. The company has no other choice but to join the digital bandwagon, in order to survive. But that alone is not a guarantee of success. Just like the Gulf of Aden, the internet has its share of ruthless pirates. Those who are not willing to pay a cent for the things they can get online. Those who see that it is a right for everything on the internet to be free. Pirates indeed. Ruthless, absolutely. How long Britannica can survive with these pirates around, only their skill and creativity will tell.

 It has not been so good with most print, music and film industries, where “free” sites make downloading almost anything possible. Legitimate music sales have fallen drastically. Movie theaters have noticed a decline in ticket sales as well. And books? They have taken a beating, with the Britannica its newest victim. Fresh meat for the pirates, if you ask me. Soon, libraries will all be extinct, replaced by internet cafés and the like. Movie theaters may shut down altogether. And the music may truly die. Bye, bye, Miss American Pie indeed!

 Technology has a way of making things obsolete. Kodak is a perfect example. No more film since everything is now digital. To an extent, it has made workers obsolete as well. A lot can be done online. Airline ticket reservations, hotel bookings, concert ticket purchases, and online retail stores from the smallest nail to the largest house! All online. Slowly dying are the retail stores that people go to. The travel agents that travelers consult for their vacations. These are the stores that hire people, give them jobs. They’re all gone. They’ve metamorphosed into call centers.

 Even making friends has gone online. Is the day coming where people don’t even have to meet to become the best of friends, or even get married? I somehow like the older way of doing things. I like to personally meet my friends. I like to hear the crackle of a needle on a record while being played. For me, it is still the best way to listen to music. And in some aspects, I still would like to hold a book, and not a tablet. I wonder what the next two hundred forty-four years will bring?

I guess I am growing old. But don’t tell anyone.

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