Outside the Circle News

Sarah Groft, Staff Reporter

Encyclopedia Britannica to end its 244-year-long printing career

It was announced on Tuesday, March 13 that Encyclopedia Britannica will stop printing books. The company has been printing the many-volume book sets for over 244 years. New editions typically come out every two years; the last set, which contained 32 volumes, was printed in 2010.

The company will now be focusing its energy on keeping up with the times and working on its digital encyclopedia and education tools. According to CNN, Jorge Cauz, the president of Britannica, had this to say about the company’s change: “Everyone will want to call this the end of an era, and I understand that, but there’s no sad moment for us. I think outsiders are more nostalgic about the books than I am.”

The printed book sets surprisingly only constitute about one percent of the company’s sales. “The print set is an icon,” continued Cauz, “but it’s an icon that doesn’t do justice to how much we’ve changed over the years.” While the online encyclopedia only accounts for 15 percent of the company’s revenue, it still greatly outweighs its printed counterpart. The majority of the company’s profits come from its educational products such as online learning tools and curriculum products.

“This has been the reality of reference texts for years now,” said Cauz. “Updating dozens of books every two years now seems so pedestrian. The younger generation consumes data differently now, and we want to be there.”

Britannica online will cost money to access, but Cauz feels that people will be willing to pay for it. “Wikipedia is a wonderful technology for collecting everything from great insights to lies and innuendos. It’s not all bad or all good, just uneven. It’s the murmur of society, a million voices rather than a single informed one.”

Britannica will be relaunching its site around the week of April 2, with some added features such as social connections and interactivity.


Demjanjuk, convicted Nazi camp guard, dies

John Demjanjuk died at the age of 91 on Saturday, March 17. Demjanjuk, originally named Ivan, moved to Cleveland with his wife and daughter after World War II. There he became an auto worker and had two more children. He led a quiet life until years later when he was swarmed with questions about his past in a Nazi camp. These questions and accusations led to revocation of his American citizenship, deportation, and trials for war crimes in Israel and Germany.

Demjanjuk consistently denied all accusations against him. He was convicted and reprieved in Israel, and was appealing a verdict of guilty in Germany when he passed away in a nursing home. According to The New York Times, Demjanjuk claimed to be a Ukrainian prisoner of war whose identity was mistaken. His accusers held him as a guard in the Nazi camps of Treblinka, Majdanek, and Sobibor, who willingly participated in the killing of Jews. He was known in Israel as “Ivan the Terrible.”

The trial that was overturned in Israel in 1988 had Demjanjuk sentenced to hang. The overturn happened when new evidence appeared to indicate that Demjanjuk was most likely not “Ivan the Terrible.” He was then deported to Germany in 2009 for charges of killing 27,900 Jews at Sobibor in 1943. However, no witnesses could place him at the camp. Regardless, Denjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison. He was afflicted with bone marrow and kidney disease and was soon transferred to a nursing home, where he died.


Apple to issue dividend checks to stockholders

Apple announced on Monday, March 19 that it would start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share. A dividend, according to Associated Press, is when a company issues a regular payment to its stockholders. The payments will begin in the summer after many years of resistance. Former CEO Steve Jobs thought Apple had better things to do with its cash.

Now, with Apple’s cash up to $97.6 billion, they have a few dollars to spare. Typically, when a company changes a policy such as this, it’s a sign that they have run out of ways to generate profit. On the contrary, Apple also announced plans to buy back $10 billion of its own stock beginning in October, the start of the upcoming fiscal year.

Apple’s stock was also increased 2.7 percent on the day of the announcement, on top of the 37 percent it had risen since the company implied that a dividend may be in its future. Apple has more than doubled its profits over the last fiscal year, with an 85 percent increase. It is projected to increase its earnings by 60 percent in the upcoming fiscal year.

The dividend is said to come to $10.60 per year, which is about 1.8 percent of Apple’s stock price. The $10 billion it will pay in the first year almost rivals the dividends of AT&T and Verizon.

Not everyone thinks the dividend is a good idea. According to Associated Press, Jeffrey Snider, president of Atlantic Capital Management, said that technology changes too quickly for leaders in one industry to stay on top for long. He also cited the once-dominant companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Research in Motion. “No one thinks this can happen to Apple,” he said, “but this could be the beginning of the end of their growth story.”