Publishing: A Meeting of Minds

In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, that 35 million-word compendium of classified knowledge, the G. & C. Merriam Co. rates only two brief mentions. Last week Merriam leaped right off the pages and into Britannica's corporate arms. Chairman William Benton's $13,960,000 purchase of the publisher of the Merriam-Webster dictionaries not only unites two of the world's best-known reference works, but two of its oldest. Prosperous Britannica, Scotland-born but American-owned since 1901, is 196; debt-free Merriam, which bought Noah Webster's work from his heirs in 1843, is a spry 133. Merriam's sales last year:...

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