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"There Must Be Something In It' ” T
\HE Encyclopædia Britannica is the clopædia Britannica, and which it is only rigt:
name of a Work first published in that a subscriber shall expect to find in a Full Edinburgh (1768-71) in three mod- purporting to be for authoritative reference est volumes, and of which an with and systematic reading.
and systematic reading. It is not stran.se -completely new-edition has now been is therefore, that these encyclopædias have fun! sued. During this long period of almost 150
been continued. There was, in fact, no res years, there have been in England, the United excuse for their continued existence. States, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and
Again, the Encyclopædia Britannica Russia about twenty other attempts to make
has always been not only the largest, the same kind of a book—that is, a book dealing with all human knowledge in the broad
most comprehensive, most authoritative est outlines,-but of them all, only a few at
of all works of universal reference, but tained to a second edition.
the public have invariably paid more for
it than for any other work. Why has the Encyclopædia Britannica maintained its unequalled position There must be a good reason for this, too. during this period, becoming with each Other encyclopædias issued within the last of its successive editions more compre- forty years have been sold at from $90 to $123 hensive and more authoritative, always a set. The last completely new edition of the increasing its fame, its sale and its use- Britannica, the 9th, published in 1875-89 in fulness?
25 volumes, was sold at that time at $150 to There must be some reason for this, and it
$200. Its success was instantaneous, and in may be attributed to the fact that the original ultimately, than even in the country of its
the United States more copies of it were said, idea of the projectors of the first edition, “A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland," was that origin. The cheaper encyclopædias contain this encyclopædia was to be a book in which
from 40 to 60 per cent. less matter than the the knowledge of the world should be written Encyclopædia Britannica, yet the sale of the by experts out of their own experience and
Britannica, a much larger book in bulk of not by ordinary“ hack” writers. In the carry- the sale of the smaller works issued at a lower
contents, at a higher price, has always exceeded ing out of this idea, the Encyclopædia Britannica has in each of its editions been written by price. One would say, offhand, that the sale authorities, by those who were known to be
of the cheaper encyclopædias would exceed the identified with the world's progress. They
sale of the higher-priced work, but the conwere, in fact, the creative minds of the day. In trary has proved to be the fact. Why is this?
If it were possible to ascertain the collective their hands, the contents of the book gave not only a survey of general knowledge, but gave
opinion of the majority of the purchasers of also an estimate and appraisal of knowledge editions, the consensus would undoubtedly the
this celebrated work during its successive that was to come-a foresight of the future as well as an insight into the past.
that the reason it has lived, the reason it has Other encyclopædias were made from time
enjoyed such a continuity of influence, the
reason the public have paid more for it, is the to time, a large part of the information in
fact that of all works of its kind it is the one which had already appeared in earlier works.
whose contents bear the impress of the highest The contributors merely recast that knowledge and put it into somewhat different form, but scholarship, and the most expert, practical exwithout giving credit. Works produced on
perience. Its authority, in a word, is acceptsuch a plan, involving a small investment, and ed without question because it is the work of
authorities. It is the best book of its kind, with expenses cut in every direction, were
and people have paid more for it because it was much more cheaply made, and while they were
the best, and was worth the money. The sold for less in the aggregate, they were, relatively, actually higher in price than the
name of the work has come to have a certain
fixed significance as a synonym of authority, Encyclopædia Britannica; they necessarily lacked the note of the highest scholarship,
finality, truth. and the thorough-going treatment which the Again, more sets of the Encyclopædia public have always associated with the Ency- Britannica have been sold since it was
In writing to advertisers please mention Tue World's WORK
Printed upon ordinary book paper, such as was used for previous editions, the new Encyclopædia Britannica occupies a width of over 7 feet.
Printed upon India paper, the 29 vol.
first issued 145 years ago than have versity Press, 28 volumes and index, 44,000,000 been sold of all other encyclopædias, in words of text, is the work of 1500 contributors all languages, including English, put to- and represents an outlay of $1,500,000 before gether.
a set was on sale. It is a complete and exhaustThat is an extraordinary fact, but there must
ive inventory of all knowledge, theoretical and be some good reason for this, too. The public practical, as that knowledge stood in 1910. in each successive generation would not have It is printed on ordinary paper, and also on thin bought the book so consistently if they had not but strong India paper; the volumes in the felt that it was worth buying. It would not have
latter form being but one inch thick. The been possible to "fool the public" about it all
three all-leather bindings, Full Sheepskin, Full the time during this long period. The En
The En- Limp Suede, and Full Morocco, are remarkcyclopædia Britannica may, therefore, be said ably low in price.
ably low in price. While it is still the highestto be a thing of life which has lived because
priced encyclopædia, yet it is the cheapest it deserved live, and it has deserved to live
book in the world, for the purchaser gets because those who bought it knew that it
almost 400,000 words for a dollar, or about occupied a position not approached by any
four times as much reading matter as is ordiother book.
narily provided by publishers for that sum.
Those who do not wish to pay cash in full for Is this book too good for you?
it, may pay in 4, 8 or 12 months, or at the rate Do you want reliable information at of $10.00 monthly. a low price? Do you want unreliable Should the reader of this notice wish to have information at any price?
further information regarding this work, of which
45,000 sets have been sold in a little more than two Do you not know that an unreliable
years, all that he is asked to do is to send his name reference book is not cheap at any price,
and address on the attached form, on receipt of
which a large prospectus containing a description any more than a poorly made shoe, an
of the work, many specimen pages, full page plates, inferior tool, or any other article designed maps, etc., will be sent him free of charge, and withfor service, is cheap ?
out obligation, together with prices, six different
plans of payment, bindings, bookcases, etc. This Finally, if you have children, do you
prospectus will be sent by mail, and has been dewant to give them mis-information ? Is signed to enable the inquirer to form an independit not a fact that many so-called chil
ent judgment regarding the merits of the most
successful book of our time. dren's books are made merely to sell, and that their contents are unreliable,
APPLICATION FOR PROSPECTUS—THE NEW ENCYmisleading and of unknown authorship?
CLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA “There is not a single family having chil
Some of the main divisions of this prospectus are suggested by
the following: New Discoveries in All Sciences; The University dren," writes a Britannica subscriber, "that cf Cambridge and the Encyclopædia Britannica; Classified List should be without a reference book on general
of Articles; The Most Successful Book of Our Time; The Work
of Original Thinkers and Discoverers, including 8 Winners of subjects, and the head of the family cannot
the Nobel Prize; India Paper "An Inspiration of Genius”; Courses
of Reading: The Alphabetical Index-A Question Answerer; The be too careful what books are used for reference. Subiect Index-A Guide to Reading; Practical Usefulness of the Some books are published to sell, some are got
Work; The Story of the Ship; The War Against Disease; Geog
raphy a New Science; 113.000 Words on China; Schedule "K"; ten up with years of tireless labor with the main The Initiative, Referendum and Recall; Law and Legislation, etc. idea of being of value in actual work. I have Managor, Tho Encyclopaedia Britannica, waited for three years until the new Britannica
120 West 32d Street, New York City. (W.W. 8) was ready. I want to say without reserve that I am more than justified.”
Name The nith Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published by the Cambridge Uni- Address.
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Reflections of a
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