BritanicaThis day in 1768 we saw the birth of what we now take for granted, the first edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. Created and first published by Colin Macfarquhar and Andrew Bell in Edinburgh, Scotland 1751 to 1766, it was originally sold by subscription in an unbound format for the first three years. By 1768 they published the first bound version for a mere eight pence. In all, there were three volumes in the original set. When it ceased publication in the paper format in 2010 it was in the 15th edition and contained thirty two volumes in the set. It also contained contributions from 110 Nobel Prize winners and contributions from 5 American Presidents.

It is estimated that only 3,000 copies of the original sets were created selling for twelve Pounds Sterling and included 160 copperplate engravings by Bell. Today encyclopedias are the scourge of yard sales, doomed for recycle or dumpster fodder, but a first edition set could bring you thousands of dollars if you can locate one. Even reprints of the originals fetch high dollar amounts. The last set sold at public auction sold for $10,000.

So this is yet another collection of printed words has fallen to the computer age along with the dictionary and thesaurus. Come to Landmark Books and help support the printed word by buying books. Visit us at our new location in the South Mercato across from Gallery 50. Books make the perfect gift and we have a wide variety of autographed copies as well. You might even find a dictionary or two.

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