Sunday, July 13, 2008

The end of Print as we know it.

Hello everyone in cyberland.
Veering wildly off the track of art I'd like to indulge a little in, well, waffling. It's getting to the point that this here digital world may be beginning to have a really positive effect on the planet. That is, if we can figure out a way to have computers not fill up landfills every couple of years.

The landscape of newspaper publishing is changing fast. Many of them are closing down despite being propped up as much as possible by moguls such as Murdock. It's partly caused by the cost of petrol and transporting newspapers to their destinations. Partly the cost of paper and mostly because of the availability of alternative sources of information online.

The transition will be difficult for employees but there are other employment opportunities on the web now. The Huffington post is doing very well for instance and their writers are employed just like the ones in print newspapers.

Why is this a good thing? Paper is made from wood & hundreds of tons of trees are cut down every day to satisfy newspaper production. Although many argue that forests are maintained to satisfy the demands of publishing it's not a rational argument. Trees don't exist for printing on. They were there first.

What's going to bring about the real end to the printed newspaper is not really the content on screen. It's the content on digital paper. Yes, it exists already and is on it's way to us fast. It's not really going to change anything other than give us all a lot more choice in terms of what we read.

The new e-newspaper / e-paper is extremely energy efficient in terms of displaying information and has huge potential for school children who normally have to carry many kilos worth of books to school every day. Not to mention every other form of of print. I love books and hope it won't impact them but I can't see that not happening to some extent. A world without libraries or book shelves would be very sad. Particularly for those people who do such a marvelous job of designing them.

However it should make writing, as a profession more doable and distribution also a lot easier (saving on fuel, time and reducing pollution from trucking.

Here's a link for more information on the paper that's coming.