Skip to comments.Start Writing the Eulogies for Print Encyclopedias
Posted on 03/16/2008 11:13:04 AM PDT by SamAdams76
IT has never been easier to read up on a favorite topic, whether its an obscure philosophy, a tiny insect or an overexposed pop star. Just dont count on being able to thumb through the printed pages of an encyclopedia to do it.
A series of announcements from publishers across the globe in the last few weeks suggests that the long migration to the Internet has picked up pace, and that ahead of other books, magazines and even newspapers, the classic multivolume encyclopedia is well on its way to becoming the first casualty in the end of print...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
It was impossible to get rid of them.
Libraries and used bookstores had no interest in them. EBay was glutted with them.
I finally threw them in a dumpster at work. A shame, but there was no more room for them here.
I bought the deluxe set from a salesman outside the PX at Schofield Barracks, HI, in 1988. He was pretty happy, but a few weeks later the mail room folks were not amused. I also got the complete and un-expurgated 100 volume set “Great Books Of All Time, Which You Will Probably Never Read”.
The World Book had a nice set, it is amazing to see how prevalent propaganda and so-called political correctness has rotted thoroughly into modern tomes. The set I have dates from 1966.
I also find indispensible, a 30s era Merriam-Websters dictionary.
Exactly, look at how the reasons for the Civil War have changed, for instance.
Britannica (especially the old 9th Edition) is terrific and the OED is incomparable. We, fortunately, have the shelf space!
One thing nice about the actual tomes is finding other stuff whilst toddling about for something ....
“Interesting. If you dont mind me asking, what was it about the lifestyle of selling encyclopedias that you hated?”
Door to door sales was for the ‘green berets’ of the sales world, we could chew up the lesser mortals like car salesman etc.
The work was very tough so the lives of the sales people consisted of ego stroking of already big egos, except for three hours a night that we would slam it to the ‘fish’.
My crews consisted almost entirely of 19 and 20 year old girls and every one of them thought that they were the hottest thing on the planet.
The life style was one that could be described as the next best thing to being a rock star, while it appealed to a certain part of me the way decadence and high living do, it was causing terrible conflict with my inner codes.
I was good enough that I could pick out the house by driving past it and reading the signs, then go play pool for awhile, go back to the house give them a precise 55 minute pitch (never shorten it, never let it go longer), close them and then start picking up my crew.
To prove a point sometimes I would place 3 sets in one evening and I found a couple of girls that could do that.
In our case we never actually “sold” books, we placed them in people’s homes in return for a letter of endorsement and “advance” payment of “updating” services.
It bothered me that I had a psychic ability to see who was going to buy, by my initial look into their eyes and the total decadence of the female attentions were troubling as well, I even hired a guy for the purpose of serving as a screen to divert the girls (it wasn’t me, it was my role that they responded to).
It was taxing to hire a hundred people knowing that in two or three days 95 of them would be gone, and that after two weeks one of them would still be there.
It was taxing to give the “blue horizon” interview, where you switch the new hire from the advertised high salary to commission, it was also bizarre to have a girl that was bringing in a huge amount of sales, want to stay on a salary.
The bottom line is that it was discomforting for me to be prostituting my natural desire and ability to engage people by exploiting it to make money.
Hint: If you have to read about American Indians in the "Native American" subject, chances are your encyclopedia is tainted with political correctness.
“I bought the deluxe set from a salesman outside the PX at Schofield Barracks, HI, in 1988”
LOL, I remember letting the salesmen into my home outside of FT. Lewis, Wa. in 72-73.
I never could figure out how they went from giving me a set of encyclopedias for free to several hundred dollars of payments, then a few years later I was giving the same pitch.
That was still before widespread use of the World Wide Web, but at that time, every PC manufacturer (Gateway, Packard Bell -- remember those?) was including a free encyclopedia on CD with a computer purchase.
It isn't the same, though. There was something about actually having a volume in your hand, that the online versions don't quite provide.
My parents' old Britannica wasn't that colorful or up-to-date -- we used the World Book for school -- but on those things it covered best, like British History, Britannica went a lot deeper than Wikipedia and possibly provided more information more compactly than you could probably come up with in several Internet searches.
“One thing nice about the actual tomes is finding other stuff whilst toddling about for something ....”
That’s exactly why I won’t buy the OED on CD-Rom. Amazon.com may have come out with its Kindle, but I still would much rather hold a book in my hands and let my fingers wander through its pages!
Yes, I remember those days well. I sure wish I could have back all the money I spent on dopey "content" software back in the mid-1990s. Those were still the early days of the Internet where everybody had dial-up on slow 9600 or 14.4kbps connections and it wasn't cheap either. So it seemed a good investment to get encyclopedias and stuff like that on compact disc because you couldn't ever imagine instantly downloading images, sound and video over the web at lightning speed.
I bought programs like Microsoft Encarta, Microsoft Music, Microsoft Cinema (where they had movie reviews and short clips of movies) and even 100 years worth of National Geographic magazines.
Loading them up today, they look so primitive and cheesy that I kick myself for spending $100 a pop on them. Especially now that you can pull up virtually every music video and movie clip on YouTube in a matter of seconds. I remember spending good money for programs like Microsoft Encarta,
Wikipedia ought to come up with a way to filter that stuff out in the "random article" feature.
I had a wonderful set of encyclopedias. Hubby threw them all away because he said I knew everything.
My 14 yo LIVES in books, and dictionaries. She's reading at college level.
Too funny! After reading your story and the comments, I don’t feel like such a booknerd anymore! Parents bought EB when I was born—64. By the time I could read well, at about 5-6, I found them and thought I’d died and gone to Heaven! Did I mention that I hate, no loathe, Dick and Jane?
Alas, a few years later, I found out that I knew a lot more about a lot of subjects than my beloved EB, but I still liked to just pick one up and browse.
I have, and treasure, my grandma’s 1951 Webster’s New World Dictionary, encyclopedic edition. As far as I know, all the EB’s are gone. Daddy got internet.:)
We used to have another set, gray with red writing on the covers. Stories and fairy tales. I spent many a day reading those. Anybody remember what they were?
“My 14 yo LIVES in books, and dictionaries. She’s reading at college level.”
Good for her! I wish all teenagers were that interested in books...and I don’t mean Harry Potter either.
Good for your 14 YO. I still do!
Someone came in the garden center where I work yest and asked for Encyclopedia. The other girl that works there replied—she’s in the greenhouse.
A young guy that works with us looked at my colleague and said—if she’s Encyclopedia, you must be a Little Golden Book!
Hold on to your older written encyclopedia especially if they were written before the advent of political correctness.You will be able to show your grandchildren what OBJECTIVE history was all about.