Encyclopaedia Britannica will no longer be taking up the bottom rows of your bookshelves. In a true sign that printed books are going they way of 8-tracks, Beta, and cassette tapes, Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer create print versions of their books.

For 244 years, the thick volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica have stood on the shelves of homes, libraries, and businesses everywhere, a source of enlightenment as well as comfort to their owners and users around the world.

They’ve always been there. Year after year. Since 1768. Every. Single. Day.

But not forever.

Today we’ve announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone.

For nearly two-and-a-half centuries these reference books have been printed. I can still remember the red-bound, gold-inlaid encyclopedia set my parents had when I was a kid. I had my nose buried in those things for countless research projects. But kids won't be able to do that much longer as everything Encyclopaedia Britannica puts out in the future  will be online.

The wealth of information will not cease to exist, in fact they claim that going to the all-digital format will allow them to provide information in "bigger, more numerous, and more vibrant digital forms."

You can watch a video of the rationale behind the move, and the way they hope to better serve the world through their all-digital format below.

They are offering a free week of Britannica Online for people to see what they have to offer. (That free trial is over on March 20th.)

The digital-age is here.

Picture by jaygee564, Flickr.