(+) Does It Still Make Sense to Buy CDs?

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Several articles have appeared online in the past few years describing the slowly dying music CD business. In short, sales of music CD disks are being replaced by directly downloading music online to iPods, computers, and other music playback devices. Remember the record and CD stores that used to be available at your local mall? Where have they all gone?

You can find dozens of articles about the declining sales of music CDs if you start at http://bit.ly/39EEid8. Those articles got me thinking: if sales of music CDs are plummeting, can data CDs be far behind?

For more than two decades, genealogists have been enthusiastic buyers of genealogy data CDs. At least, looking in my storage area in the basement confirms that I have been an enthusiastic buyer! I suspect many more genealogists have done the same. I have several hundred genealogy data CDs stored in a large box, most of which haven’t been touched in years.

I assume that most other genealogists have also been purchasing CDs. I know the CD-ROM disks from Ancestry.com, (formerly Broderbund, with CDs designed to be read by earlier versions of Family Tree Maker), FamilySearch, HeritageQuest, Genealogical Publishing Company, Heritage Books, Family Chronicle, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Progeny Software, S&N Genealogy Supplies in England, Archive CD Books (from several countries), and dozens of other companies and societies have sold thousands of copies. In addition, I see dozens of independent genealogy CD-ROM disks offered for sale on eBay; most are apparently produced by one-person businesses. Prices vary widely, but $5 to $30 US seems to be the price range for most genealogy CDs with a few others at higher or lower prices.

Shouldn’t we be accessing genealogy information online instead of on CD-ROM disks?

Why would we ever want to change to online distribution? I see several reasons, some of which are already major factors:

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