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Is Print Dead? Not Yet, IMO

CopywriterMaven tweeted (is that how you say it?) an essay by Dan Costa at PC Magazine about the end of their print edition called Print Is Dead. Long Live Print.

He started me by pointing out the magazine is 27 years old; I’ve been reading it off and on since it’s beginning, but that’s another story. About the magazine he says:

These days it simply doesn’t make economic or environmental sense for us to print a magazine, load it on trucks, and send it across the country when the same information can be delivered instantly online via PCMag.com.

I know he’s right, particularly about the enviornmental impact. I take my print magazines to the library or to a friend who distributes them to veterans, but I know each one eventually has to be recycled and I’m afraid a good percentage of them end up in landfills.


But I’m still not willing to give sitting on the couch or in the bathtub or at the beach and read something that’s been printed on paper.

I finally got a personal look at a Kindle: Amazon’s Wireless Reading Device, Amazon’s ebook reader, and that’s probably the wave of the future. The screen is truly close to paper. It’s not just like paper and I still prefer paper, but it’s close enough to use on a regular basis. And I could take it to bed or to the couch. I don’t think it’s ready for beach or bathtub.

Dan’s comments about the flaws in the publishing industry are enough to make anyone think twice about printing on paper. But like Dan, I don’t think print is dead – not yet. And probably not for awhile.

Computer screens have got to get more paper-like. Ebook readers have got to come down in price. But the end of print as we know it is probably in sight – not in our lifetimes, but maybe in our grandkids or great-grandkids lifetimes.

That’s my opinion. What do you think about print?

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • I can see a split happening between print and e-media. Ephemera and drivel will be mostly used for Kindling. Literature will be printed in hard copy…if there still IS such a thing as literature. Having looked at numerous “Post-Modern” works recently, I have my doubts. Academia’s standards have been subjected to nihilistic, lowest-common-denominator degradation.

    Publishers have ruined publishing by seeking the greatest possible profit at the expense of authors. Publishers will be largely replaced by small presses, mini-conglomerates, author-owned websites, and Amazon-like substitutes. Quality fiction may actually thrive again.
    jorgekafkazar recently posted..Watcher in the Night decipheredMy Profile

  • I loved print when I was a little boy, now I am all growed up and have non synchronisation of eye sight – so it’s farewell to my Agatha Christies and Frederick Forsyths.

    I remember my week days used to be a breakfast over the newspapers of the day (we used to get ten a day, don’t ask me why), and then my afts and evens would be submerged in newsies. Of course, weekends were big, monolith newspapers that kept me busy till 12. I think that’s where I got my addiction to Archies and stuff too.

    I remember I used newspapers even before I started reading, because I used to spill food a lot (bad boy) and mom was careful about her sheets than the daily rag.

    Now though, I cannot think of spending a good part of the day without being ‘connected’, checking mails, zombie browsing, etc etc. Kindle is yet not a good idea for India, like the iPhone, because GPRS costs a bomb down here, so its’ still the Times of India and Mid Day for us here.
    Roy DSilva recently posted..Freelance Tips- How do You Manage Your TimeMy Profile

    • Roy, can you do audio books?

      • Oh yes.. I have heard about audio books, but I cannot sit at one place and listen to something, am one of those young and the restless individuals around. 🙂
        Roy DSilva recently posted..Freelance Tips- How do You Manage Your TimeMy Profile

        • My son does audio books in the car and with an mp3 player – or maybe his cell phone, while he runs…

  • ebooks are the wave of the future. And always will be.

    Seriously, I like book-books. I use a magnifying glass to read them, now. But my eyesight is deteriorating as I get older, and I really appreciate being able to read text on my 23″ monitor from 3′ away. Kindles are way too pricey for me.

    I think I’ll go read now. Fantasy.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

  • Hannah

    Every time I hear someone say print is dead, I laugh my butt off. No way is it going anywhere. People love books and magazines, catalogs and things like that. As you said, Anne, you can’t read a Kindle in the tub. Also, you can’t fold it up and cram it into your purse.

    Also, with content still in the cloud and subject to ridiculous DRM restrictions, which people are getting really sick of, I think we’ll be seeing paper for a long time to come.

  • AH! NO! Save my Borders bookstore! Will it just display huge computer screens of the latest electronic versions of books? Oh the lovely books, the lovely lovely books.

    Don’t take my paper pleeeeeeeeeease…

    Annie’s last blog post..Freelance Writing Report: A $500 Week

  • I think print as a news medium is certainly dying. Why wait for the paper or magazine to arrive when you can turn on the radio or TV for the headlines and find out more online? On the other hand, until e-book readers are less expensive and more flexible (e.g., can display a full-size atlas as well as a paragraph from a novel), we’ll still have printed books.

    But I write for marketing, where there remains a mix of print and other media, and I don’t see that disappearing too soon. Customers still like to browse print catalogs, even if they buy online. At trade shows, most take-aways are still print, because it’s inexpensive and prospects can flip through it anytime, anywhere. You don’t casually insert a USB drive and load it up, just to see what these folks do.

    Especially for emerging businesses, no print is not an option. What else would you post on community bulletin boards? Hang from doorknobs? Pass out and post up to promote your band’s show? And anyone trying to reach seniors – including baby boomers – or low-income audiences can’t rely on the internet, Kindle or any other expensive, new-fangled devices.

  • You can still find Atari’s and Eight-Tracks right?
    People still like antiques right?

    The printed page will NOT go out of style.
    The demand is still much too high.
    What about all the book-lovers/nerds, academic textbooks?

    I prefer to read books vs.the Internet more.
    I like reading before bed usually the Harelquin or Silhoutte novels. Sometimes other genres.

    And landfill/recycling people need to keep their jobs.

    Michelle Kafka’s last blog post..Writing Tool For The Writer/Virtual Office – Zoho

  • admin

    Kerri, I like print too!

  • Kerri

    I much prefer reading the actual book than reading ebooks or listening to audiobooks. I can’t say exactly why, but I like to be able to run a page rather than press a button. There are numerous other reasons, but I won’t go into them here. I hope printing stay a live longer than many think. It’d be a shame to see it die early.

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