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CD-Roms were supposed to be the vanguard of a multimedia revolution. Andrew Brown asks why, with a few exceptions, they seem to have flopped

By Andrew Brown   June 1997

Cd-roms seem to be one of the futures that haven’t happened, along with personal jet packs, useful nuclear fission and the new world order. Five years ago, they were going to change the way we thought, render books obsolete and make fortunes for everyone who got into them. Quite a lot of the CD-Roms that were published then are still stranded on the shelves of my local bookshop. Many of the big media companies that piled into the market are now withdrawing. Hardly anyone is making a profit, except Dorling Kindersley, a London-based company; and even Dorling Kindersley has seen…

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