My favorite story about why electronic reference books are better than print is from AAR/SBL 1996. We had just released the Early Church Fathers on CD-ROM and a woman came up to our booth to place an order.
“I am so glad you have this in electronic form,” she said. “I already have it in print, but I am a student and have had to move the 38 volumes three times to second floor apartments. I’m selling the paper!”
With more than 5,000 titles available today, the case for saving space and weight is made. Still, the ECF remains our first, best single-title example, and we still drag the paper edition out as a prop for photographs.
During a recent shoot, as several of us hauled the set out to the lobby, I observed that I had seen someone carry the whole set. Logos blogger Eli Evans did not believe me –- but he was the one who did it. I found the photo, from 1998, though the evidence shows he could only handle 37 of the 38 volumes.