Video killed the radio star and the internet, it seems, is about to obviate printed reference tomes. Oxford University Press, the publisher of the 20-volume authoritative text on the English language, has said it might not publish a printed version of the next edition. The OUP cites 2 million monthly hits on its subscription-based ($295 per annum) web lookup service, which compares rather favorably to the 30,000 total print sales since the current (Second) edition's publication back in 1989. The complete Oxford English Dictionary hardback set costs $1,165 and weighs in at a whopping 130 pounds altogether, so perhaps Oxford would be doing Ma Earth a favor as well by going paperless. Of course, we're talking about the somewhat distant future here; the next OED isn't expected to be completed for another decade, by which time we could have all sorts of magical devices, maybe even a color Kindle!

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Next edition of Oxford English Dictionary may be online-only