There was a discussion on Honyaku today about the shareware program Jamming, which allows one to search multiple dictionary files quickly. But while the software is being improved—an update of Jamming just came yesterday—I wonder what the future holds for commercial dictionaries on CD-ROMs. Portable IC-based dictionaries seem to be selling well in Japan, but I notice fewer new CD-ROM dictionaries appearing these days.
The reason that I have suspected for that trend was confirmed to me recently by a dictionary editor. He told me that his company has become more hesitant about issuing dictionaries on CD-ROM because of the very real risk of widespread file copying. As long as people can copy dictionary files from CD-ROMs onto hard disks and CD-Rs, the future of digitial dictionaries may be not copyable disks but IC dictionaries and fee-based online services.
(March 14, 2003)