Originally Posted by 1ScrewLoose
"Remember the firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord." -- Fahrenheit 451
Note that people nowadays people read more than ever before, it's just that they do much of it online.
And they're not phasing out the OED, they're phasing out the printed edition.
And I wonder if the idea would be all that final anyway, because there is a sizeable target demographic that likes things old, traditional and tangible - possibly not a lot of people, but many of them quite wealthy. Producing printed "snapshot" editions every few years might be well worth it.