Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Oxford Dictionary Leaving Print

The English language has always been an active, dynamic, ever-changing language; one, quite frankly, that the past printed dictionaries could not adequately keep pace with.

Much like traditional publishing could not adequately keep pace with all the past incoming writing talent. Even when the big publishing houses employed full staffs, they could not keep up; hence “slush piles” were created and old stories were born about all the great, past authors who were initially rejected numerous times before finally getting published.

But, I digress!

This report comes from staff writers at (a great Austrailian resource, by the way):

A TEAM of 80 has been working on it for the past 21 years, but now the lexicographers compiling the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary are being told that it will never appear in print, its owner has admitted in a report today.

The dictionary’s owner, Oxford University Press (OUP), has said that the impact of the internet means the latest update to the definitive record of the English language will never be published as a book.

“The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of percent a year,” said Nigel Portwood, chief executive of OUP. Asked if he thought the third edition would be printed, he said: “I don’t think so.”

The OED will live on online, where it has already been available for a decade and receives two million hits a month. An annual subscription costs £205 (US$217) plus value added tax (VAT).

OUP also gets royalty payments from Google, which uses an unbranded Oxford dictionary in its search engine.

Google was added to the dictionary as a verb in 2006, a century after HG Wells, in his novel “The Sleeper Awakes,” first envisaged all literature appearing on screen rather than in books.

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