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CASE 2 - CASE 21 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA Inc(A Scotland in...

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CASE 2-1 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, Inc. (A) Scotland in the mid to late eighteenth century enjoyed its own “information age,” the  Scottish   Enlightenment.   It   was   an   era   that   embraced   industrialization,   spawned  revolutionary ideas (Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” theory of economic is one example),  and transformed Edinburgh into a world-renowned cultural center. So it is not surprising  that   during   this   time,   two   enterprising   men   decided   to   capture   and   market   that  knowledge. Colin Macfarquhar was a printer and Andrew Bell an engraver when they formed  a partnership in 1768 to publish what they called a “Dictionary of Arts and Sciences.”  William Bell, hired to edit the vast collection, emphasized usefulness in his preface to  the three volume set. “Wherever this intention does not plainly appear,” he wrote, “neither the books  nor their authors have the smallest claim to the approbation of mankind.” Thus did  serving society’s need to know become the mission of Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc  (EBI). The new reference guide, which took three years to complete, was offered to  consumers in weekly installments. This timing was right, for the edition sold out quickly.  A second edition soon followed, then a third and a fourth, each bigger and more  comprehensive than the last. By 1815, when the fifth edition was published, the set had  ballooned to 20 volumes. A pirate version, published in the US in 1790, tapped growing  new market. Even George Washington bought a set. Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, when the company  was   purchased   by   Americans   and   moved   into   US,   EBI   continued   to   enhance   its  reputation as the premiere source of knowledge. The company maintained, “Our brand  represents material you know is authoritative and trustworthy.” The company recruited  notable scientist and scholars, including Thomas Malthus, Sigmund Freud, and Marie 
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Curie, to contribute. It expounded upon such cutting-edge topics as taboos, anarchism, 
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