The Encyclopedia Britannica has ceased publishing their bound volumes. An online edition has been available for some time, and from now on that will be the only edition available. Some people hate to see the books go, but it’s a predictable step in the inevitable digitization of printed matter. No doubt old bound volumes will continue to turn up on ebay for some years.

Headed for extinction

John Gray, CEO of National Geographic, recently told a Wall Street Journal reporter  that the familiar yellow-bordered magazine was moving not so gradually to various digital platforms. When asked directly if the magazine would eventually cease to exist, he answered directly: “Yes.” How soon?  He’s not sure, but ten years maybe. Even when change seems to be occurring at warp speed, it takes a little while.

Do you ever see a manual typewriter? You think they have disappeared, right?. But you can still buy a brand new Royal manual typewriter on Amazon for $119.95, although reviewers make it plain that it is not nearly as well made as its old time counterpart.  I guess if you intend to head for some place on the planet where there is no electricity— deep in the north woods to write your memoirs, for instance—you might need one of these.

“Lifebuoy really stops ‘B.O.'”

The best place to go for new retro products, however, is the Vermont Country Store.  If you happen to be in the market for a Crosley recordplayer that will “spin all your records—33 1/3, 45, and 78,” a bonnet hair dryer, a chenille bedspread, a rubberized ice bag or a bar of Lifebuoy (“theworld’s first deodorant soap”), you can get it at the VCS. You can bet that if someone is still making this stuff, there’s a market for it, and it will be around for a while, alongside smart phones, MP3 players, and Dial soap, which believe me, smells a lot better than Lifebuoy. For some reason Lifebuoy was my grandmother Emma’s soap of choice. She ran a boarding house for college boys. Perhaps that explains it.