That's the sub-heading in the conclusion to an article from the 15 April 2013 Publisher's Weekly. Journalist Gwenda Bond concludes her article, "The Changing World of Reference," by interviewing DSNA President Orin Hargraves. Here's an extended quotation:
At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publisher Bruce Nichols agrees that the digital future for reference is bright. "Unlike with commercial fiction, it's not going to e-book so much as other forms," Nichols says. "Our print sales are still strong enough to merit new titles, but are declining. Electronic licensing is doing really well." ...
HMH also purchased Webster's New World reference titles and CliffsNotes from Wiley late last year. A major new edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary will be released next year, and the publisher is currently exploring options to expand upon the popularity of the CliffsNotes Web site, which brings in significant advertising revenue. Nichols is concerned, however, about the potential impact of one long-term trend in the field. The drop in profitability of print editions of dictionaries in particular has resulted in fewer on-staff positions for lexicographers throughout the reference world. What that could mean for the quality of dictionaries in the future is an open question.
Author and lexicographer Orin Hargraves, current president of the Dictionary Society of North America, agrees that it's a concern, though the effects of the decline aren't being felt just yet. "Many things a[r]e still drawing on legacy resources," he says. "When the time comes that they are truly crowdsourced, quality will decline. Very few people instinctively know how to write a good definition." But with the average age of English-language lexicographers "well over 40," fewer openings to train new lexicographers for, and perhaps 100 remaining in the world (which Hargraves believes is actually enough), it could well become a problem to find qualified, dedicated professionals to provide the dictionary content of tomorrow and ensure changes to the English language are accurately captured and quantified.