With the new 11th edition, we are bringing our three publishing programs together in a single compelling consumer package. Our perspective on cross-media publishing is shaped by our online experience.
This began in the mid-1990s, when we introduced free access to the Collegiate Dictionary at our Web site, Merriam-Webster Online. While the site has become extremely popular, receiving more than 75 million page views a month, sales of the print edition have not been diminished by the heavy Internet traffic.
READERS CROSS MEDIA
In fact, many people say they regularly use both the Web site and the book. Indeed, the same person who uses the online edition at work during the day will use the print edition at home, and the CD-ROM version on a notebook PC when traveling.
This cross-media reader led us to embrace a phrase introduced by the book and Web designer Richard Saul Wurman. We live, Wurman says, in an "Age of Also", where there is no best way to access information, but rather, many good ways.
We agree. We have found few people who want to access their dictionary exclusively through the Web or CD. But many people who depend on the print version of their dictionary also want Web and CD-ROM access.
Another important aspect in our thinking is an appreciation that the print dictionary, and especially the hardcover desk dictionary, is itself a sophisticated piece of technology.
All of its features—the thumb notching, page design, typography, blackness of the ink, whiteness of the paper—combine to facilitate and ease access to the printed database.
There are more than 1 million separate pieces of information in the Collegiate Dictionary, yet most users can find the single item of information they're after in less than 30 seconds.