E-Paper's Effect on Book Printing
Reuters reports that some of that the world’s top newspaper publishers are planning to introduce a form of electronic newspaper that will allow users to download entire editions from the Web onto reflective digital screens said to be easier on the eyes than light-emitting laptop or cell phone displays. Flexible versions of these readers may be available as early as 2007. Production costs are expected to be low enough soon for publishers to consider giving away such devices with an annual subscription.
“This could be a real substitution for printed paper,” said Jochen Dieckow, head of the news media and research division of Ifra, a global newspaper association based in Germany.
E-newspapers would cut production and distribution costs that account for 75 percent of newspaper expenses.
A substitute for printed paper? What implication does this have for book printers? How soon will it be before this technology migrates to book publishing? See the April 29, 2006 positing about the Sony Reader. Sony’s device uses the same screen technology from E-Paper as described in the Reuters article.
The entire book publishing paradigm is changing. Newer technology will come along to challenge paper’s role as the preferred medium for a book. There was talk about the changing paradigm at Book Expo of America. After all, printed books have had a good run—500 years or so.
For the foreseeable future, though, printed books will have a place. Printed books lend credibility to the author. Take Chris Anderson, for example. He is the editor of “Wired Magazine.” He wrote a terrific article entitled The Long Tail for the magazine. The article was written three years ago. During that time was Chris Anderson interviewed on his thesis? No, not really. It wasn’t until he wrote a book, by the same name, that he was interviewed in magazines such as the “Economist” and appeared on the talk-show circuit. His article, his ideas have not changed. The only difference is now he has a book.
Book printers are well served not to forget this example. No matter what the technological changes, there is always a need for a printed book.
If you enjoyed reading this, please forward the URL to colleagues who might also enjoy it, http://bookprint.blogspot.com.