Well as of late, the world seems to think that online and digital are the only ways to make this happen. For the most part, I agree. Reading sports news online is without a doubt faster than waiting for the morning edition of the newspaper, and when you need to know who moved on to the next round of American Idol, twitter probably has a post that has leaked it before the show even airs.
The other side of the spectrum is when there isn't full access to an online source, or that the information simply isn't relevant to pop culture or the rest of the human population. More specifically, I'm referring to academic research from kindergarten on up. Not every library has sufficient resources to keep each person it serves connected to the most trustworthy online information. Most of us remember looking something up in an encyclopedia, copying as much of the information down as we could tolerate, and rewriting it in our own words so as not to be accused of plagiarism. Though because it was from the encyclopedia, at least we knew it was correct information.
I was lucky I guess, that our library had the newest set of encyclopedias each year. But as a former teacher, I know what school budgets look like.
~Side note, I was a middle school art teacher with a $200 budget per year. No surprise we did a very long life drawing unit on newsprint with crayons.~
Most schools can't afford a computer for every kid in every classroom. Furthermore, I know that there are schools with such a limited budget that the books haven't been replaced in 5 or more years.
Here is the main point of an e-mail I recently sent to a Media Specialist (School Librarian for those who have missed the title change in public schools):
The idea that I'd like to pitch to some companies is to do monthly or quarterly updates, ship them to current customers and include a sticker that the set owner can stick on the page referencing the updated material in a separate book.
Eventually it would become necessary to replace the entire set, but at least the ability to stay current doesn't depend on buying another $600-1400 set each year. If for 2 or 3 years you subscribe to the quarterly update, I feel like everyone wins and the likelihood of continuing to buy the same brand becomes valuable to you based on your quarterly contact with the update. Not to mention, how cool would it be to get a bound publication that simply has encyclopedia changes from the last 3 months.
Am I making sense?
Let me know what you think and I'll be happy to share it in a future post.