April 18, 2012 - 10:52 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Encyclopedia Britannica has launched an iPhone and iPad app just one month after it stopped publishing its print edition, according to The Telegraph.
The app, which is available in the iTunes app store, is the latest move in a shift to digital publishing from Britannica, which ceased production in book form after more than 200 years following declining sales.
Full access to the encyclopedia will cost £1.99 a month, just over half the cost of an online subscription. Falling sales of the print edition were attributed to the increasing availability of free information on the internet, although the publisher also recognized that the content of its books was quickly becoming obsolete.
Some features of the app, including the most popular entries, will be available for free but Britannica hopes that people will be willing to pay for full access in the face of competition from the likes of Wikipedia, emphasizing "the increasing number of digital users who seek quality and reliability of information over availability".
The encyclopedia, which has been online since 1994, includes articles written by figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bill Clinton. Britannica hopes to launch on other platforms, including Google's Android operating system, later this year.
Ian Grant, Managing Director of Encyclopedia Britannica UK, said: "The release of the Britannica app also marks another important step in the transformation of the Britannica business following the cessation of the publishing of the 32-volume print set.
"The app will significantly add to our existing extensive online and mobile product offerings.” Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in Edinburgh in 1768 and remained in print until earlier this year. It announced it was ending production of its print version in March after selling just 8,500 volumes of the 2010 edition, priced at £1,195.