Oxford English Dictionary Will Probably Never Be Printed Again

Posted on August 30, 2010

The Telegraph reports that the Oxford English Dictionary will never be printed again. Oxford University Press says the print dictionary market is rapidly fading away. The dictionary will probably only be printed online from now on.

"The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year," Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times. Asked if he thought the third edition would be printed, he said: "I don't think so."

Almost one third of a million entries were contained in the second version of the OED, published in 1989 across 20 volumes. The next full edition is still estimated to be more than a decade away from completion; only 28 per cent has been finished to date.

The AP also has a story here about the end of the print edition of the dictionary. The third edition of the dictionary is only 25% finished. By the time OUP's lexicographers have completed the third edition, the market for the print version may be gone.

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