30 August 2010

No Dead Tree Edition for OED3

I was told by a colleague that OUP is pulling the plug on print dictionaries, but this will even include their flagship, the Oxford English Dictionary. “The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year." So OED3 will probably not appear in print. Unless it is shown that iPads and Kindles cause brain cancer and print books make an unexpected comeback.

But Simon Winchester, renowned specialist on professors and madmen (great book), thinks that unlikely, and calls the online-only edition "prescient":
    Until six months ago I was clinging to the idea that printed books would likely last for ever. Since the arrival of the iPad I am now wholly convinced otherwise.

    The printed book is about to vanish at extraordinary speed. I have two complete OEDs, but never consult them – I use the online OED five or six times daily. The same with many of my reference books – and soon with most.

    Books are about to vanish; reading is about to expand as a pastime; these are inescapable realities.

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