am 9. Juli 2004
I think both books are outstanding, and more complementary than rivals. Nevertheless, there are some differences (but both are made in USA, and very USA focused).
Columbia's big dimensions and weight (8.9 pounds/4 kg) make almost necessary to read it on a desk. Britannica Concise (BCE) is 6.7 pounds/3 kg and smaller.
Both utilize an extremely small font size. Columbia contains 6.5 million words. BCE "only" 2.6.
Britannica C has over 2000 photographs, maps, tables, drawings, color illustrations; nations flags ... In Columbia, illustrations are sparse, limited to about 500 black-and-white line drawings.
Columbia's 6th edition stopped in 1999. BCE is of April 2003 and is edited every year, but I am not sure if they are going to update it or not.
Britannica Concise includes articles like Super Bowl, Viagra, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Big Stick Policy, Mother's Day and Father's Day ... that don't exist in Columbia.
Quantity does not always mean Quality. B Concise seems to be more shrewd, witty and, by the way, less subjective.
As I said before, both books are outstanding and complementary.