Encyclopaedia Britannica

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EditionYearComments
011768-1771Published in 100 parts in Edinburgh, priced sixpence or 8 pence on finer paper. Reprinted in London in 1773
021777-1784Published in 181 parts in Edinburgh
031788-1797Published in 300 weekly numbers in Edinburgh (1 shilling apiece). Supplements added in 1801 and 1803
041810Published in Edinburgh
051817Published in Edinburgh as a corrected reprint of the fourth. Supplement added in 1824
061823Published in Edinburgh as a reprint of the 5th with a modern typeface
071830-1842Published in Edinburgh by Adam & Charles Black as a new work, not a revision. It was sold to subscribers in monthly "parts" of around 133 pages each at 6 shillings per part
081853-1860Published in Edinburgh by A & C Black as a thorough revision, even more so than the Seventh
091875-1889Published in Edinburgh by A & C Black as the "Scholar's Edition" in 25 volumes, more luxurious, with thick boards and high-quality leather bindings, premier paper. Bootlegged copies published in the USA. In 1895 A & C Black moved to London and, on 9 May 1901, sold all the rights to the Britannica to Horace Everett Hooper and Walter Montgomery Jackson from the USA, then living in London. They planned to sell the Britannica under the sponsorship of The Times, meaning that The Times would advertise the sale and lend its respectable name. General offices were then set up in New York City.
101903Published as a 10 volume supplement, now 35 volumes that were dubbed the "10th edition"
111910-1911Published as 28 volumes. Hooper now the sole owner of the Britannica.
121922The poor sales of the war years brought the Britannica to the brink of bankruptcy. The CEO of Sears Roebuck in Chicago, philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, was devoted to the mission of the Britannica and bought its rights on 24 February 1920 from his friend Horace Everett Hooper for $1.25 million. In 1922, the same year Hooper died, a 3-volume supplement to the eleventh edition was released that summarized the developments just before, during and after World War I.
 
This edition was a commercial failure, losing Sears roughly $1.75 million, after which Sears gave it back to Hooper's widow, Harriett Meeker Cox, and her brother, William J. Cox, who ran the company from 1923 to 1928.
131926Three new volumes were published covering the history of 1910–1926, which were intended to supplant those of the twelfth edition. In 1928, Rosenwald bought back the rights to the Britannica, but leaving Cox as publisher, until 1932.
141929Published as 23 volumes with a one-volume Index that also contained a complete atlas. But with the Depression sales plummeted. Rosenwald died in 1932. The Secretary-Treasurer of Sears, Elkan Harrison “Buck” Powell, a University of Chicago graduate was installed as the new President, and the general offices moved to Chicago. In 1943, the operation was purchased by William Benton, a former US senator and advertising executive who was backed by the University of Chicago. After World War II, Britannica salespeople solicited orders by telephone and by selling door-to-door. By the beginning of the 1960s, having purchased Compton's Encyclopedia and dictionary publisher G. & C. Merriam (later Merriam-Webster), and having published, in 1962, the Great Books of the Western World, the enterprise had nearly 4,000 employees nationwide and was doing about $75 million in annual sales. In 1973 William Benton died.
151974Published as 30 volumes. Contained a single Propædia volume (Primer for Education outlines), a 10-volume Micropædia (Small Education articles less than 750 words), and a 19-volume Macropædia (Large Education more scholarly articles).
 
In 1980 the William Benton Foundation took over. During the 1990s, the company concentrated on producing electronic references, but competition in this field was heavy, and sales dropped. In 1995, Britannica was purchased by an investment group led by Jacob Safra of Switzerland.

Britannica Global Edition was printed in 2009. It contained 30 volumes and 18,251 pages, with 8,500 photographs, maps, flags, and illustrations in smaller "compact" volumes. It contained over 40,000 articles written by scholars from across the world, including Nobel Prize winners. Unlike the 15th edition, it did not contain Macro and Micropædia sections. On March 14, 2012, Britannica announced it would not be printing any more sets of its paper version, which accounted for less than 1 percent of its sales, and would instead focus on its DVD and online versions.

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