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"Print is doomed."

Dec 21, 2007 12:00 AM


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Is print doomed?

“Print is doomed,” declared Adam L. Penenberg in the October 2007 issue of Media Magazine. “Print as a medium will ultimately fade away, just as parchment became paper, the typewriter gave way to the pc, and the waxed cylinder morphed into the record, then the compact disc, and now the digital download. The first to go will be newspapers, but over time magazines and even books will follow. And not only will they be distributed digitally (read: without paper), and accessed through a variety of devices - some mobile, some not - they will most likely be free. Not this year or next, maybe not even within the span of a decade, but surely in our lifetime.”

Laurens Leurs, a moderator at www.b4print.com, asked forum participants to comment. Most are long-time prepress professionals. Here’s what they had to say:

“I love to have an actual paper magazine or book in my hand but I read news on the Web almost exclusively. I don’t want to mess with newspapers, but I hate a long read on the monitor, even an LCD. I’m 33 years old and I’m half and half on the subject, makes me wonder about my kids when they are in control.”

“There is something special about books that a digital screen will never, ever replace. At least for me, and I know I’m not alone. I’m the same way about traditional photography—it’s an art that digicams cannot replace.”

“I don’t care for the idea of reading a good book on some sort of electronic device with adverts running along the borders or pop-ups on every page, but, hey, they ain’t asking my advice. It will be done. Like TV is becoming more commercials than actual programs and not too much we can do about that either- but stop watching!”

“Well if the only opposition to books and newspapers are things like Amazon’s Kindle, there’s plenty of time for print. OK, Kindle is a v1.0, but I can’t see it myself. Without being able to annotate or mark things correctly (metadata) it won’t work. “The majority of people will not see that putting a fold on the corner of a page (a terrible habit) or marking an advert with a pen is the same as metadata, simply a pointer to another piece of data. To a lot of people, even those younger than me, the computer is still magic and they just don’t get it. We’ve a few years yet, I think.”

“Last thing I want to do when I’m sitting on the seat pinching a loaf is having a laptop or electronic device on me. Gimme a good ol’ magazine or newspaper.”

“The obvious solution is that we all must band together and cancel this whole Internet-thingy. Just think, if there were no more Internet, there would be fewer [lousy] lo-res images people would want us to print!”

Read more at www.b4print.com/forums/index.php?topic=606.0 (registration required).