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Five Things We’ll Miss About Real Encyclopedias

You’ve probably found out by now the news that Encyclopedia Britannica is ceasing production of its hard copy books, and you probably found that on the internet, while reading the news that used to come in paper form. If you were fortunate enough to have some of these in your house, you probably shared the same strange affection for them.

The weird smell…

The moment your new computer came with an Encarta CD-ROM, your Encyclopedia set started crying. Then they got moved into the basement. Then they started to smell funny. You didn’t realize that until you were forced to consult them for a school project because your teacher didn’t think computer encyclopedias were a valid source. Mmmm. Musty.

Reading articles about taboo subjects, while pretending to do homework…

You probably read articles about sex for hours, but since you were sitting at a desk with the encyclopedia, your mom was none the wiser.

Realizing you brought the wrong volume to study hall…

This is something that will never be an issue for kids today: You’re in the library gearing up for a last minute book report. You think you’ve grabbed the “C” volume to do your report on Crickets when you realize you actually stuffed the “I” volume in your backpack, because earlier you’d started by looking up the word “insect.” Good luck, jerk. You have to go all the way back to the library now, if the teacher will let you. Otherwise, you’ll have to change topics.

Having a heavy book, other than the bible, to hit your younger siblings…

During particularly violent brotherly fights, bookshelves became ammunition closets. The shelf which contained a set of encyclopedias was full of evenly-sized, hard-covered projectiles. You only get one shot to chuck a Kindle across the room.

Last but not least, illustrations of the female anatomy…

In a pinch, they got the job done.

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