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Monday, 30 August 2010 09:46

Web could kill Oxford English dictionary

Written by Nick Farell
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Getting too big for its own good
The Oxford Dictionary which has been the authoritative guide to the English language for a hundred years might be slimmed down to next to near nothing. The full dictionary weighs 60 kilograms, and Oxford University Press, said that the online version is making more cash.

The digital version of the Oxford English Dictionary now gets two million hits a month from subscribers, who pay $US295 a year for the service in the US. The printed version costs £750 and has sold about 30,000 sets.

Lexicographers behind the century-old Oxford English Dictionary are currently revising and updating its third edition which will take another decade. But publishers doubt there will be a market for the printed form by then.

Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, told The Sunday Times he didn't think the newest edition would be printed. "The print dictionary market is just disappearing. It is falling away by tens of per cent a year," he said.

Nick Farell

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