Genealogical Publishing Company (GPC) has announced that the all-new 5th Edition of The Genealogist's Address Book, by Elizabeth Petty Bentley, will soon be released as a CD-ROM disk. This is a radical change for this "book" as previous versions have always been published as 8-1/2" x 11" paperback publications. The Fourth Edition, printed in 1998, had over 800 pages, and the new edition is presumed to have even more information.
Quoting from GPC's Web site:
The Genealogist's Address Book has been a highly acclaimed national "Yellow Pages" for the genealogist since it was first published in 1991. As the field of genealogy has grown over the years, so has the size of the Address Book. The Fourth Edition, published in 1998, encompassed more than 800 pages. The explosion in genealogical resources, however, can no longer be contained in the confines of a book, so this new Fifth Edition is produced as a CD, the only format practicable for a reference tool of this size and scope.
In making the announcement on the genealib (Librarians Serving Genealogists) mailing list, Joe Garonzik, Marketing Director of Genealogical Publishing Company, stated:
At this time we have no immediate plans to offer the 5th Edition in book form. Why? I cannot speak for other publishers, but I can tell you that our days of AUTOMATICALLY printing multiple thousands of copies of new or revised genealogy directories (dedicating a certain percentage to the library market) are over. Where how-to content is concerned, the Internet has changed everything.
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The Genealogist's Address Book is an excellent reference that is used by private individuals, genealogy societies, and libraries alike. The reply comments on genealib were all rather negative. I guess librarians prefer to have a printed book that they can pull from the reference shelf and hand to a patron. However, for use by private individuals, a CD-ROM makes sense.
First of all, the CD-ROM version will sell for $19.95 while a print version of the same information would probably sell for $60 to perhaps $85, according to Garonzik. Next, the "shelf life" of this particular book should not be an issue. One can expect that the information within the Genealogist's Address Book changes often so that a replacement version is needed every few years. Finally, a CD-ROM disk is much easier to store.
Storage issues are fresh in my mind since I recently had to either throw out books or else put a new addition on the house. I chose to "downsize" my book collection, but I still have room for many more CD-ROM disks. I suspect that I am not the only one with storage problems. For those of us who do not live in mansions, a compact disk is a much better solution than another 800-page book, especially for a reference book. The fact that the disk sells for one third to one fourth the price of a printed book with exactly the same information also helps.
The GPC Web site describes the new "book" on CD this way:
Organized by subject and fully searchable, this CD puts you in touch with all the key sources of genealogical information, giving names, addresses, phone numbers, FAX numbers, e-mail addresses, websites, contact persons, business hours, and other pertinent information for more than 16,500 libraries, archives, genealogical societies, historical societies, government agencies, vital records offices, professional bodies, religious organizations and archives, surname registries, research centers, special interest groups, periodicals, newspaper columns, publishers, booksellers, services, databases, and much, much more.
I suspect that Genealogical Publishing will sell many of these CD-ROM disks. For more information about the Fifth Edition of the Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley, look at: http://www.genealogical.com/item_detail.asp?afid=&ID=7427