Despite the Hype, Print Isn’t Dead

newspapers (Tehrān)
Image by birdfarm via Flickr

Michael Josefowicz at MediaShift makes the case that, despite all the hype, print isn’t dead.  The reason this idea is so widespread, he claims, is that

most of the public discourse tends to be dominated by information junkies and there is little doubt that if you’re an information junkie, the web is the way to go. But the reality is that info-junkies are only a small tribe. They consume the news at a prodigious rate and the web is the fastest way to satisfy their appetite. Thus, they’re also the most vocal tribe — so it’s easy to get the impression that theirs is the most widely held conclusion. But if you listen to some of the discourse, it soon becomes apparent that it’s only one way to look at it.

In addition,

[t]he “End of Print” is a meme that has gained ascendency in an environment of disruptive change in the communication ecology. It’s similar to the dot-com boom meme that bricks-and-mortar stores were doomed and would soon disappear. But fast-forward 10 years and you’ll see that prophecy never came to pass. Stores with physical presences are still strong: Wal-Mart had the third most visited e-commerce website last Christmas and continues to lead retail sales by using stores and the website. Pets.com didn’t work out as predicted, while brick-and-mortar pet stores continue to thrive. (However: Independent bookstores have been decimated by Amazon.com.)

In his view, print is still king because

1. The best interactive tools for learning are still a page of print and a highlighter.
2. Print is the best search platform in proximate physical space.
3. Print can be seen as a toy, a token or a tool — things that people have and will continue to gladly pay for.
4. Once print is connected to cloud computing, everything will change again.

Is anyone out there ready to give up print altogether?

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