It was inevitable.
The moment the world was introduced to search engines, the days of Encyclopedia Britannica were numbered. And now we are told that the 2010 edition is the end--the last edition.
Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo, etcetera have rendered most printed reference material nearly useless.
The news of Britannica's demise conjures up, for me, a bittersweet memory of a time, long ago, when I was briefly a part of the encyclopedia business.
During a six-month stint in southern California, after leaving college, I took a position with Encyclopedia Britannica--selling the books door to door.
The job was interesting, and a valuable lesson about life. Knocking on doors taught me to expect, and accept, occasional rejection. It taught me about diversity, and how different things are important to different people.
From the outset, I had a problem selling encyclopedias. It seemed as though every home I entered had needs more urgent than a set of books that were outdated the moment after receipt. I had trouble pushing them on people who obviously had better use for their money.
My career as a door to door salesman lasted 30 days. In that one month the grand total of books I sold was zero. I made no money at all--but I did get a lot of exercise.