Sad Face

Big book news this week. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. said Tuesday that it will stop publishing print editions of its encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago. They swear it’s because the digital version of EB is doing so damn well that there’s no real need to keep printing them (rather than, say, the company as a whole being felled by competitors like Wikipedia and um…Google) and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. OK Britannica, your digital encyclopedias are selling like hotcakes, so there’s no real reason to keep producing the massive book version. Sure. Whatever you say.

In any case, if you’ve been daydreaming about that 32-volume set since you were a kid (and they are ‘spensive, something north of $1,300) now’s your chance. After the current supply runs out, that’s it. (Me, I always thought it’d be fun to build a fort out encyclopedia volumes. A FORT OF KNOWLEDGE.)

And if you couldn’t care less because you haven’t paid money for an encyclopedia since the days of Encarta, then take this opportunity to instead read my review of A.J. Jacobs’ The Know-it-All. He may become the last living person to have the read the EB, in print, in its entirety. Here’s to small victories.

All the facts fit to print

Major victory this week, guys. A book I’ve had on my shelf for no less than five years finally got read. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you buy books like I do—a ratio somewhere along the lines of three new acquisitions for every one completion—it’s nice to reassure myself that even though I may not get to that memoir I just had to buy until say, 2016, at least it will get read. Someday.

On to the disappointing news: A.J. Jacobs’ The Know-It-All wasn’t exactly worth the wait. Which is to say that, shockingly, a book documenting one man’s mission to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica isn’t quite as riveting as you might think.

I have to admit, the concept intrigued me. Jacobs is (or at least was at the time of the book) an editor at Esquire, where he primarily focuses on pop culture news and the latest celebrity gossip. His goal with the Britannic: fill his brain with slightly more intellectual fare, and/or know everything there is to know and/or become the smartest person in the world. You know, the usual.

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