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Encyclopedia Brittanica is the latest hard copy publication to throw in the towel after nearly 250 years of continuous publication.

Before the Internet became a widespread phenomenon, encyclopedias were a treasure trove of valuable information. They were the ultimate quick reference source. The Encyclopedia Brittanica was published every two years. A complete 32 volume set could set you back over $1,000.

These days, with information on nearly everything available at your fingertips for next to nothing, and even the online version of the Brittanica only going for $70, the hard-copy just couldn't compete. The 2010 edition will be the last. Once the remaining copies are sold, the company will focus on digital reference and learning products.

I guess the good news is, if you have a set, hold on to it. It may well be a valuable collectors item one day.