An Encyclopaedia in Your Pocket for $2 a Month

In the free Wikipedia age, are there people who’d care to pay for the Encyclopedia Britannica?

Although the jury is still out on that question, we’re inclined to believe that the answer is No given the masses’ disinclination to pay for online content.

But that doesn’t mean the folks at Encyclopaedia Britannica are easily conceding the battle.

They’ve just put an iPhone app that’ll provide users access to all 80,000 articles in the Encyclopedia, the ability to download information to read offline, save and send articles, store favorites and search history.

Encyclopaedia Britannica on iPhone

For those who are not interested in forking out $1.99 a month, the app provides free high-resolution images, maps, access to 100 free articles plus the first 100 words of every article, and a “link map.”

Android and Microsoft versions of the app are expected to come out early next year.

Test Drive

We downloaded the iPhone app and tested it out.

A search for Rahul Gandhi pulled up his mother Sonia Gandhi.

The listing on India (part of the 100 free articles) is 1,568-pages long on the iPhone.

By the way, Encyclopedia Britannica has an iPad app too.

6 Responses to "An Encyclopaedia in Your Pocket for $2 a Month"

  1. gandhiji   November 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks… Android market hasn’t got one.. they probably figured(rightly) that Android users will mostly favor wikipedia. The app certainly looks majestic on the iPhone.

    Got a 50$ Roku – watching Vijay TV on for free. They will be showing Nadunisi Naigal on Sunday – in case you are interested. Responds:

    1. If you have a iPad tablet and BIG aspirations for your kids, you might want to subscribe to Encyclopaedia Britannica on the iPad. $2 a month.

    See Walt Mossberg’s favorable review of the iPad app here.

    We might subscribe at least for a month or two just to check it out.

    We just subscribed. Akshay Kumar has a listing but not Shahrukh Khan. Go figure.

    2. Didn’t know ChannelLive was a channel on Roku. Will add it today.

    Might see Nadunisi Naigal.

    We’re back on Netflix Instant too (DVD + Instant Play) for those times when Instant Gratification is a must. Cut the DVD to one at a time.

  2. Aswin_Kini   November 30, 2011 at 4:48 am

    SI Wrote: “In the free Wikipedia age, are there people who’d care to pay for the Encyclopedia Britannica?”

    Great question and the answer is definitely NO.

    But one small problem, there is a huge difference between free and unreliable content and paid and reliable content.

    For instance, everyone knows that the pages in Wikipedia are easily editable. Imagine that some idiot goes to a Wikipedia page on Indian Freedom Struggle (1857-1947) and does some horrible changes such as mentioning Muhammed Ali Jinnah as the Father of the Nation and Nehru as the first INDIAN PRESIDENT……..

    In such circumstances, the wrong info will remain on the page and many young kids may actually believe it to be true (Referring to kids between 8-12 years of age). I once had a kid asking me if October 2nd was Sonia Gandhi’s birthday because some idiot had accidentally or intentionally changed Mahatma Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi 🙁

    Sometimes, it is better to stay with PAID online content. FREE content is not always the RIGHT content. Responds:

    This means we must keep our Encyclopaedia Britannica subscription.

    • shadowfax_arbit   December 1, 2011 at 1:40 am

      >> In such circumstances, the wrong info will remain on the page (wiki)

      That’s not right. Even if someone edits incorrect (or uncited) information, it is validated and the change is undone. It maximum remains for a day or so.

      And if some rogue user intentionally edits with wrong information repeatedly, his/her account will be blocked. Responds:

      Shadowfax, you’re only partially right.

      With regard to generic information like science/geography etc, Wiki is mostly OK. You’re right that errors and defacing are quickly fixed.

      But if you’re talking about, say, new Indian movies then there’s lot of bias and even outright distortion in Wiki. The producers/actors/distributors and others involved with the movie exercise tight control over the Wiki page making it hard for unbiased/unfavorable reviews and accurate information to come out.

      Indian Movies are just one example where Wiki’s reliability is in question. There could be others.

      Bottom line, where vested interest have a lot at stake Wiki becomes unreliable as an unbiased/accurate source of information.

      In professional encyclopedias like Encyclopaedia Britannica you generally have subject matter experts (including 100 Nobel Laureates) contributing, minimizing scope for bias.

  3. Hari Jr   December 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Attendance potaachu sir (i have given my attendance for today) 😉 Responds:

    But you were late! 😉

    • Hari Jr   December 2, 2011 at 7:48 am

      No I wasn’t late.

      You noticed me late SI 😉

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