Oxford dictionary to be offered only in virtual space?
The publishers are skeptical about the availability of the market for the printed form by the time the dictionary is revised and updated to its latest edition.
Statistics show that the online version of the dictionary gets about 2 million hits from subscribers in a month. Sadly the printed form, published in 1989, has sold about 30,000 sets in total. The printed matter comes in a 20 volume set costing 750 pound ($1,165).
Nigel Portwood, Chief Executive of Oxford University Press said on the printing of the latest edition, "The print dictionary market is just disappearing. It is falling away by tens of percent a year."
Although Portwood's comment referred more on the full-length version of the dictionary, he added that the shorter versions were also facing a tough time due to the convenience that the electronic format provided.
In addition to that, the online version, launched in 2000, makes it easier for its publisher to catch up with rapid semantic changes and the large numbers of new words. Updates are put every three months. In fact, the latest entrant, Vuvuzela, was announced only a couple of weeks back.
While more and more people are shifting to the digital dictionaries, it is still early to say if they will gulp the printed format.
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