The Encyclopedia Britannica - that treasured guardian of historic and scientific knowledge - will no longer have a print edition, ending a 244-year odyssey.

The all-encompassing annals of existence will now be held exclusively online, where all future updates will now live.

The 32 volumes of the 2010 Encyclopedia Britannica will be the last ever to go into print.

The encyclopedia's publisher says the extensive volumes had not been a huge money-spinner for a number of years and explained that most of the company's revenue comes from other educational tools.

Scholarly voice, unlike Wikipedia

Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica Inc, said: "The company has changed from a reference provider to an instructional solutions provider," and said that only 15 per cent of its earnings comes from the Encyclopedia.

With suggestions that there was less of a place for the Encyclopedia Britannica in the instantly-accessible Wikipedia age Cauz insisted that it still had a lot to offer.

"We may not be as big as Wikipedia. but we have a scholarly voice, an editorial process, and fact-based, well-written articles," Cauz said.

"All of these things we believe are very, very important, and provide an alternative that we want to offer to as many people as possible.

"We believe that there are 1.2 to 1.5bn inquiries for which we have the best answer."

Trustworthy friend

From now on, however, there'll be no new answers to those 1.5bn queries printed on paper.

"I understand that for some the end of the Britannica print set may be perceived as an unwelcome goodbye to a dear, reliable and trustworthy friend that brought them the joy of discovery in the quest for knowledge," Cauz wrote.

"Today our digital database is much larger than what we can fit in the print set. And it is up to date because we can revise it within minutes anytime we need to, and we do it many times each day."

Via: Guardian