Long Live Paper!

Friday, May 23, 2008


But the death of paper has been predicted for decades now. Bill Powers, media critic for the National Journal, believes that paper isn’t just an old habit, but rather an advanced technology that is nearly impossible to improve upon.

Comments [4]

danny bloom

I screen, you screen, we all screen

Boston Globe - Boston,MA,USA

When writing about digital reading - blogger is pushing the
neologism “screening,'' for reading on the screen - Mangen, Nielsen, ...


Jun. 20 2009 12:02 PM
Paul Krupin from Kennewick, WA

To think that the paper book is dead is silly.

Paper will likely be with us as the preferred communication medium for most people for many years to come.

Yes, there are more and more electronic publishing technologies and they are getting easier to use. But most people still prefer paper for most reading purposes.

Electronic files and snippet technologies will continue to grow in use. eBooks and related book alternatives will also grow, but the technology limitations and usability issues have yet to persuade and convince the masses that paper is no longer necessary.

Creatives and those that sell intellectual property just need to adapt to the new product delivery methods and offer the creative works in every possible and profitable way.

That's what makes sense anyway. If people want it and are willing to pay for it then by all means go ahead and give it to them.

Oct. 22 2008 08:36 PM
Ernie Garner from Lake Villa, Il

If you had talked to typographers you would have known that the paper vs electronics problem is NOT one of portable technology but resolution.

Traditional printing uses fully formed characters, either metal or photo negative. The equivalent pixel resolution is 1200 dpi. While the lower resolutions, i.e. 72 dpi of a VGA display are readable, they are also more fatiguing to the eye. Historically, the higher resolution of the printed page has allowed typographers to develop fonts that guide the eye and are comfortable enough to allow us to read hundreds of pages at a time with minimal fatigue.

(To give an analogy, CB radio's are great for short informal communication. Whether one would want to use it to listen to a lecture on quantum mechanics is another story.)

At 1200 dpi an 8" x 10" printed page would have to have 9600 x 12000, or 115.2 million pixels. The display would have to have that many discrete cells as well as their drive transistors. While the average Intel CPU may have many more devices, they are all located on a small piece of pure silicon. Spreading that many devices over an 8" x 10" non-intrinsic substrate that can bend would be a hell of a technological feat.

Even if a company produces a small portable display, if it runs at SVGA resolutions, it won't be something you want to use for serious reading. You'll get more comprehension if you print it out (600 dpi) and read the paper.

May. 30 2008 06:26 PM
Wayne R. Porter from Phoenix, Arizona

Of course paper will never die, but its use in publishing will be largely displaced by digital publications with interactive movable type, an empowering software invention that will change the relationship between people and text – change the way people read and write. Interactive movable type will enable everyone to read and, eventually, will enable most readers to become superreaders. More importantly, it will enable the less-developed countries to move rapidly to full literacy at costs they can afford. A Web page entitled "Interactive Movable Type: Invention of the Millennium? " discusses this new movable type and can be seen at http://mudoc.com/invenofmill.htm.

May. 26 2008 06:38 PM

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