Encyclopaedia Britannica, anyone?
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Here is something to discuss:
I was browsing ebay, when I saw this auction for this beautiful Encyclopaedia Britannica Anniversary Edition 1994, featuring FS Chaucer's Canterbury Tales LE sitting proud on top:
Obviously, this got me thinking, are there any FS devotees here that have an Encyclopaedia Britannica set at home? Or do you use the Internet to consult for information like Google and Wikipedia?
I must admit that I have been pondering of acquiring one set for myself but the initial cost of a new one is quite expensive (nobody seems to have a used set here in Denmark, although the nearest would be the UK via ebay).
Hi, ironjaw. I have the 15th edition. I don't use it as much as I used to, but it was very useful before the Internet. It's always interesting to check the entries. Don't know what my descendants will think of it years from now!
Yes, you are quite right, LesMis. I bought the set when moving from the US back to Spain and it came together with my books and other belongings. The EB holds a special place in my memories.
.... and meant to add, I have purchased 3 yearbooks since then, which are uniform with the set and impressive in content.
>1 ironjaw: - I buy access to its online edition when I need to go deeper than Wikipedia.
Need the space for. more folios :-)
Hi Antonio, LesMis and Pepe. Thanks for the messages. It sounds great that there are other members out there that enjoy EB.
Do you still believe its a good investment. I mean if you were to buy a set today, would you still buy one considering the Internet? I use Wikipedia as well although it is informative I still read it with reservations due to inaccurate information present sometimes.
It's a hard decision. If you have the money to spend, I believe it's possible to get a set for around US$1100. Basically, it is the 15th edition and you would have to check the year it is actually printed. Nothing beats a book for ease of looking up information. The EB organization is also helpful to find related subjects, although you can't avoid going from one volume to another. The publisher offers many CD and DVD enhancements but I don't believe those are transferable so they might not be available in the second hand market. Check those things out. I wouldn't part with my EB, and I find it useful to research items that are not current.
I can only speak about the content, .. Britannica online and the wikipedia, play in different leagues.. (BTW thank God for the wikipedia ) If you need to do some serious background research,( if making a mistake is a least an embarrassment , or could cost you money ) you should look at the Britannica.
Problem is that Britannica online is pretty difficult to navigate..:-P. So as drasvola says, if money is not the problem buying a set could be a good idea. they'll probably give you complimentary online access..
My family has a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica...from the 1950s. My grandfather was so proud when he bought it for his family that even now, when he's passed on, my father can't bring himself to get rid of them. (I mean, I'm sure they're still perfectly lovely books, but we're certainly not using them for reference very often anymore.)
I have the 13th edition from 1926, it is really the 1910 edition with an extra volume to fill in the 16 year gap.
Very interesting to get such a comprehensive view on how people saw the world a 100 years ago.
My parents bought it at an auction some 24 years ago for 200 nkr (about 35 $).
The seller held up one 2000 page volume as an example, but my parents did not realize there were more than one. 16 massive volumes in total, each with a weight of 3,5 kg.
I was certainly overjoyed when I received the whole lot.
Thanks for all your comments.
Antonio Your thoughts are insightful. It is interesting that you mention that EB is "useful to research items that are not current." That is exactly what I am looking for.
Pepe I remember in the mid to late 90s I had a Britannica CD/DVD on the computer which was difficult to navigate to the point I actually stopped using it compared to Microsoft Encarta which was so easy and resourceful although not that scholarly. I was a student back than so I guess times have changed. I hope their software DVD has improved. I have not used Britannica online yet. Will do that to get a feel.
Yes Wikipedia is great definitely! It is really easy to navigate and provides a good introduction to any given topic. However, Google Books is a god send (my opinion is it is the greatest notion since sliced bread) thousands of scholarly books available to search so easily. It definitely saved me when I was writing my master's thesis in space law to reference out of print and very very pricey academic research books.
Yes, valkylee, unfortunately I keep hearing the same thing that people are certainly not using the EB books very often. I guess it is more easier to look up online than search a heavy book.
Ardagor, the secondhand market for EB is merciless, currently there are no secondhand editions available here in Denmark. English books except those mass market paperbacks are hard to get by here. Is it true that you Norwegians can shop abroad eg. at Amazon US without paying import fees and VAT? The 1910 edition I found is public domain and freely available, it is part of Gutenberg.
Being more a book print edition book guy I think I am going to get myself a Christmas present for the first time this year.
PS: If anyone is interested in reading the 11th edition the following link provides the original scans and a good interesting read about how it all began:
Yes the rule is as long as you buy books for personal use only its free of import fees, vat etc.
It is a law that is very good for me.
The import fee/VAT kick in at 200 nkr for most other imported goods.
I have the 1911 set which I enjoy immensely. Like the OED it is quite the place to browse, you never know, or at least I never know where I will end up.
Annuals? Do you mean the Yearbooks? My 15th Edition is complemented by Yearbooks 2008, 2009, 2010.
They were called "Annuals" some years back:
I have the iconic 1911 edition (available for your perusal free online, btw), salvaged from a library sale. Some volumes have had their bindings detach, but most are in good condition (the binding is leather). I've never seriously consulted it, and doubt I ever will, but I wondered whether I might not use it for a circus "encyclopedia read" of a lifetime (and hope death doesn't fell me long before Vetch--Zymotic diseases).
While the text is often laughable at best, the illustrations, maps and photographs are precious.
They are beautiful books and nothing beats having a full set of encyclopaedias to browse. When I was a child my parents bought me a childrens encyclopaedia which was then published in monthly hardback volumes. They were the most wonderful books I owned - I still get something of that thrill when I browse through old sets of the Britannica.
Alas, in this age of the internet, I think that multi-volume encyclopaedias are dead and dying.
A similar publication to Britannica were the Harvard Classics set. These are still being published by Easton Press. Does anyone have a set, I wonder?
>17 LesMiserables:, 18 "My 15th Edition is complemented by Yearbooks 2008, 2009, 2010."
It's all very well for you people in Australia. A$79.90 equates to £50.56, but Britannica are charging us Brits £65.00 for the 2010 volume. That's almost a 28.5% hike on the Australian price. What a rip-off!!!
#23 That's just wrong considering the EB's spiritual home is in Edinburgh!
I have the 3-volume 1st edition (a 1979 facsimile). Pretty fascinating reading, given that it presents the state of science, art, history, etc., in ca. 1770 UK. I'd probably want to double check any info in it by searching Wikipedia, though. ;-)
I too have the 1st 3-volume edition (2006 facsimile) as well. It does show how the nature of information changes.
>27 Barton: "I too have the 1st 3-volume edition (2006 facsimile) as well."
So do I. It's the only book I have where foxing has been lovingly added to the pages:
From the publisher's introduction:
"To achieve the original appearance...unique and highly technical processes were used to re-create...the subtle 'foxing', light brown spots that occur naturally on the pages of old books as the result of bacterial action."
A step too far?!!
That's really going to confuse people in another couple of hundred years!
>22 Quicksilver66: I have a set of the Harvard Classics, given to me by an uncle who knew that I coveted them even in my youth. I was shocked and very, very grateful when he presented his set to me upon my graduation from college. They were printed in the year of my birth, 1956.
I can't claim to have read them all, but I have managed to read several of them!
>28 boldface: I love the spots and splotches.(Lovingly applied no doubt.)
>29 justjim:, 29
I've seen this set for sale on Alibris, etc., where they describe the condition with 'some foxing on pages'. Of course, nothing says that a page with facsimile foxing can't develop real foxing, but how would you know?
I have the 15th, printed in 1991, which I bought for about $100 a few years ago.
I almost never look at them, instead using the Internet. Every once in a while, I pull one out.
I'm glad I have them, though.
They recently offered the Encyclopaedia to me on CD-ROM for $40 AUD which I bought. Really quite good and handy to have on the laptop in the classroom.
34- thanks for the hint. I've been offered this with a Time magazine 12 month subscription -which I don't need at all- but it's good to know...
Funny, I got a 54 magazine subscription offer from TIME today with a 71% discount plus the 'freebie' of a Digital Video Camera (the Camera is crap of course).
How very odd! I got an unsolicited offer of a Time subscription yesterday as well, with the 'free gift' being a cheap looking telescope.
The return address on the outer envelope was in Hong Kong but the reply paid envelope goes to an address in Sydney.
I suspected that a HK website from which I had ordered a camera battery had sold my address but perhaps, just perhaps, it was the Society?
>37 justjim: : 'I suspected that a HK website from which I had ordered a camera battery had sold my address but perhaps, just perhaps, it was the Society?'
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Surely it would explicitly say if information might be sold to other entities?
I have a set I bought on ebay that is brown leather, but has a red and blue portion on the spine. They look like this:
I feel like you shouldn't pay more than 2 hundred for a set of EB's. You might have to wait a few months, but you should see a few up there (ebay) eventually. Remember shipping is going to cost a pretty penny. They are fun to browse and the knowledge they contain doesn't change as much as people think. Besides the internet is a fad.
I got the (unsolicited) Time subscription offer as well. I also linked its appearance to Folio, though I've no evidence for that.
Back to the thread, it's funny to think that as recently as maybe 20 years ago you could have a full-time job selling EB door-to-door. I remember several callers when I was a kid.
I got the (unsolicited) Time subscription offer as well. I took up the offer of 54 magazines because the freebie was the EB on CD. I suspect the FS provided Time with my details.
When trying to figure out what to do with our set of Encyclopaedia Britannica Anniversary Edition, I came across this thread.
We bought this set along with "Great Books of the Western World" as a gift for the family back in 1994. Until both kids were done with high school, it was used for a lot of assigments, but always with great care. Since, I must admit, the internet has been the go-to source for information for all of us.
We are now in the process of moving to Costa Rica, and we have to let go of these books, because they would not survive life in the jungle.
Ironjaw - if I was going home to Denmark soon, I would look into what it would cost to bring them with me.
To everybody - we are looking for a new home for each set, for a reasonable price plus shipping from Virginia:
1) The Encyclopaedia is the Anniversary, 15th edition from 1994, set number 22677, in great condition plus Year Books for 1994 and 1995.
2) Great Books of the Western World, 2nd edition (March 1, 1993) plus The Great Conversation: A Reader’s Guide to Great Books of the Western World. 1993, in mint condition (= never read).
Let me know if you are interested.
>43 CRBibi: CRBibi so your from Denmark? What a wonderful conincidence. It must be a delightful thought of living or movíng to somewhere with such an exotic warmer climate.
Yes, Ironjaw, both my husband and I are from Denmark, graduated Soroe Akademi 1973, but we have lived in Virginia for over 30 years, because we only like the Danish climate in the summer. It is a lot better here in VA, but now we want to retire to eternal summer. Costa Rica is delightful in almost every way.
The books are some of the things that are really hard to part with, but we have to. (Thank goodness for eReaders!) I have been searching for people and groups associated with Denmark somehow who might be interested in all our Danish books (and other things like silver ware and platters that are uniquely Danish). Hope to find some takers. Afterall, Danes comprise 0.5% of the population in USA.
>45 CRBibi: CRBibi
Great to hear from another Dane. I graduated from Frederiksberg Gymnasium 2002. One assertion that we both can agree on is that the summers here in Denmark are fabulous but that's it. I applaud your decision to retire to eternal summer. I wish I only was that lucky that I could depart from this country. I am stuck here because I am unable to raise the finance needed for me to leave and find another good job. Life here although a bit deceiving because it can be "hyggeligt" is entirely demotivating for an highly educated individual. I miss being in an English speaking country. I must admit that I will have to disappoint you in that I do not prefer Danish written books.
Something rotten in the state of Denmark?
If it's any consolation, I somtimes feel the way you do, living in a English speaking country.
But, according to 60 minutes, Denmark is the happiest place on Earth, so what gives? Maybe it's too happy?
DanMat, Denmark is not that bad, it's tiny, cosy, safe, people cycle to work, eat healthy organic produce and good for raising children. I am finding it difficult because I love the English language, the civility, opera, and museums. Life is also very slow here, students seem to stay at university for ages prolonging their studies and graduate way later in their mid to late twenties compared to other European counterparts. I can't generalize but many aren't overly ambitious compared to students in the UK. Many are just overly satisfied with their life here, small apartments, cycles (cars are too expensive) and possibly summerhouses and that's it.
Oh and scandinavian design is not expensive here, it is easy to appropriate here as there is always a sale on e.g. Royal Copenhagen porcelain usually 50% off and Bang and Olufsen has been having financial trouble over the years and I just saw and advert in the paper yesterday of their Beovision 10, 32" for a meagre DKK 832 (ca £80) a month over 32 months, interest free.
Although I am fluent in Danish, I find it more natural to discuss in English as my vocabulary is larger and I am more articulate compared to Danish which always seems lacking and sometimes, only sometimes out of place. Unfortunately I am overly convinced, to my detriment, that why see a Danish play, opera, theatre or museum exhibit when an English equivalent would be much more rewarding. Why read a Danish translated book when the English original is far better. I would love the notion of having read something and having it discussed coincidentally in the walks of life.
All the best intellectual experiences in my life has been in London through the Natural History Museum, British Library, British Museum, National Gallery and numerous book stores, tv leisure and documentary David Attenborough programs. My situation is quite personal and I guess my troubles are intellectual.
I guess if I had any immediate family in London I would have moved ages ago. I sincerely apologize for going off topic.
OK, I think I understand where you are coming from. I live in New York so, I have plenty of access to cultural organizations and events. I simply hop on the train and voila, there I am. Also, with being a native English speaker, I get around half (don't hold me to this number, please!) the great works of Literature in my native tongue. I'm so fussy about the translations I read, I can't imagine what it would be like if most everything were a translation.
Anyway, here is another nifty picture of the EB's I have, from a link that hopefully won't die as quickly as the one above did:
*Thanks for the word "hyggeligt", quite interesting.
thought that you should know ...
That is a pity. I wonder if they will continue with the year books.
I might pick up a used one for my kids.
I'm not a luddite but I think there is value in just bumping into the entries near the one you were searching for.
"Limited to 49,999 sets": that makes even the largest Folio Society limitations seem distinctly exclusive!
It's a sad development to me: the experience of being human will suffer, I can't but think, a definite and scarcely reversible impoverishment when we're no longer linked to even the more immediate social past by the continuing presence of a trail of physical books. I'm harbouring here the eighth, ninth and fourteenth editions of Britannica, of which the eighth is both the soundest in binding (half-bound in red morocco with very heavy boards) and the one most often consulted.
We had the big green and white World Books and a set of Funk & Wagnall's. The World Books were purchased from our church organist who doubled as an encyclopedia salesman in 1970. The Funk & Wagnall's had been obtained painstakingly by my borderline illiterate grandmother from the A & P in 1956. There was great fun in thumbing through the pictures. I particularly remember pictures of all the pure bred dogs you could ever dream of and stumbling on another fascinating entry about the goddess Diana.
> 54 ". . . our church organist who doubled as an encyclopedia salesman in 1970."
There has to be a novel in that somewhere . . . .
I agree. I would usually spend hours in an encyclopedia set when I only intended to look up one thing (of course pre-college, this was usually just a great way to procrastinate about my schoolwork). From my youngest school years (Grade School), I remember going to the library and getting lost for a long time in the World Book encyclopedias we had there. My next door neighbor was a science teacher and he had a full Britannica set from the 1950s. I used to borrow volumes from him since his kids never seemed to have any use for them (surprised he allowed this, I never would with my own books!). I have always had an inordinate love of encyclopedias which goes hand-in-hand with my library fascination. My mother would drop me off on Saturday morning at the local branch of the Library, pack my lunch, and pick me up when they closed. Great for me, great for her, great for my education, but it must have been hell on the poor librarians! I was a very high maintenance and inquisitive child. Not much has changed ;-)
Funny, though, I use find the internet somewhat analgous to this early childhood experience. Who hasn't lost hours bouncing from hyper-link to hyper-link?
I actually paid each month for an on-line subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica from the late 90s until about a year or two ago (well into the Wikipedia era). It was only about $9 a month and even though I never used it during the last three years or so of my subscription, I couldn't quite bring myself to cancel it "just in case."
For me it is even more of a sad moment because I'm convinced that the only reason I am a Folio Society member today is because EB sold my name to the Folio marketing department. Folio sent me an offer in 2000 to join with the 8-volume Gibbon set and I as permanently hooked. The code on my initial mailings indicated as much.
I just bought today Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition - 30 volumes in pretty much fine, near fine condition. Well as the say good things comes to those who wait and yes I have waited years, two years since I started this thread. It was a bargain; the seller remarked that he was pretty surprised that anyone would be interested in this 100 year old set.
I'm not sure what type of binding this is, I would sure like to know the history or what type of edition this is. So if there are Encyclopaedia Britannica historians out there I would sure like to know. The binding seems coarse, it seems like suede, but I'm not sure whether it's leather or something else. All three sides are gilded.
Yesterday, the Oxford History of English Literature - today, The Encyclopedia Britannica. You're on a roll, Faisel!!
What have you got lined up for the rest of the week? Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians? Frazer's Golden Bough? The Complete Works of Barbara Cartland?
And yes, it looks like suede to me.
Did you buy a new house or just new bookcases? You had not mentioned and considering your later purchases... :)
Congrats for both sets :)
Congratulations, Faisel! The 11th edition is a hallmark in publishing history. Did you know that there is an online resource?
Hahaha. I did not even realise this, Jonathan, I just fell upon this online while browsing for local listings a couple of days ago, and couldn't help myself given the price, 400DKK (ca. £42 / $66). I got the impression that the seller would have thrown this set out if no one had bought it.
Thanks, Anni, no not a new house yet, although I would love a house. I'm cramped in small apartment unfortunately, but hopefully I will win the lotto soon (as I have been telling myself the last 15 years) and build myself a "reading sanctuary" :-)
Holy $%^&*() that is a great price! No wonder you couldn't pass it up. It will cost you more than that to buy the bookcase to house the set. Congratulations. This is one edition that is worth owning for its historical importance and outstanding articles. And despite its online availability, if you have ever consulted the on line version, you will quickly realize that it is riddled with typos, misspellings, and strange characters. I assume it was uploaded using some type of primitive character recognition software that did not provide a very accurate rendering. In some articles it is not that bad but in others it is so distracting as to be useless to read. So enjoy your correctly printed hard copy.
I tried to find out some information about the binding but could not. A friend of mine picked up this 11th ediition set at an estate sale but I remember his set having a more traditional thin leather/leatherette binding quite different than what you have pictured (I greatly prefer yours). So it is possible that individual subscribers could order different bindings (perhaps a standard and deluxe version).
WOW! Great deal! Very happy for you, and slightly jealous. Hope I stumble across this type of deal one day, haha.
>63 UK_History_Fan: Thanks Sean! It does not look 100 years old, does it? The first thing I said when arriving home was: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the oldest thing in the house, so be gentle. The set is unbelievably in excellent condition (and I was surprised by the gilding on all three sides - does the normal britannica have this?) and I do think it has to do with the suede binding; I am sure if it was another binding lets say classical leather binding as you mentioned or the other cheaper cloth binding as I have seen, it would surely been in worse condition. All sets of the 11th edition I have seen go on ebay over the last four years have all been unfortunately in dire condition.
By the way does anyone know more about suede as a binding in general and its qualities, advantages and disadvantages? I'm sure this is not the deluxe edition as I would assume suede is not deluxe. I haven't had time to check the colophone but will do to see if there is some other hints, but right now I am trying to keep my niece off the books.
>61 drasvola:, 64 and 65 thanks I appreciate it!
By the way Sean, I first read the 11th edition as a pdf scan from the Archive site which I prefer; your quite right about the spelling mistakes on the online versions generally available. Check wikipedia end of the page where it lists the volumes, eg. Volume 1. It will take you to the Archive page and select PDF or the link here or read online. Antonio also list the website in no 61 (thanks Antonio) but I prefer reading the pdf which gives a more authentic feel. I recommend the "Prefertory Note" and the "Editorial Introduction"
The 15th edition volumes have gilding only on the top side, Faisel.
>67 drasvola: Thanks Antonio for that information. I had a hunch that it was not the case but thought they generally had gilding on all sides.
> 66 Congratulations on the 11th edition EB. Years ago I picked up Volumes 4 & 21 of a 11th edition printed at Cambridge University Press - a smooth leather binding with gold gilt design and lettering on front back and spine, and lovely onion-skin paper that has held up to the years very well.
Yeah, I know, two lonely volumes. I couldn't walk away from them - what if the rest turned up? Of course that didn't happen, so they just make me sad. Still, I have Bis to Cal and Pay to Pol covered.
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