Publisher Oxford University Press said Sunday that burgeoning demand for the dictionary's online version has far outpaced demand for the printed versions. By the time the lexicographers behind the dictionary finished revising and updating the latest edition — a gargantuan task that will take many more years — publishers are doubtful there will still be a market for the printed form.
"At present we are experiencing increasing demand for the online product," a statement from the publisher said. "However a print version will certainly be considered if there is sufficient demand at the time of publication."
Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, told The Sunday Times in an interview he didn't think the newest edition will be printed. "The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of percent a year," he said.
I guess I am not surprised. Its been a long time since I have consulted a printed dictionary, although I do so online several times a week.
Perhaps this is is a sign of things to come. Will other references go out of print, and be available only in electronic form?
Are college textbooks still printed, or have they already gone to DVD and online? Surely doing that would bring down their costs.