Is Paper Dead?

If you were to list the top 100 inventions since the dawn of man, paper would undoubtedly be somewhere on that list. Without paper, it would be hard to imagine how mankind would have shared and stored information for so many years. After all, there are only so many walls to write on. After Amazon revealed its new, lower priced line of Kindle products, the argument over whether or not paper is becoming a dead technology erupted again. So, is paper dead?

Is Paper Dead?Personally, I seriously doubt we’ll be free of paper entirely anytime soon. Until modern tablets make jotting down notes or doodling as easy as it is on paper, there will be a need for it. Sure, you can write on the iPad using your finger or a special stylus that works with capacitive screens, but it never works as fluidly as a pen or pencil does when it glides across a Steno pad.

A growing number of offices consider themselves to be paperless. This term is a misnomer as many of these offices still invest a lot of money in writing pads and sticky notes. Having a physical and easily accessible surface to jot down information is an incredible resource to have at your disposal. After all, would you really leave an iPad or Android tablet laying on your coworker’s desk to let them know that they need to call that important client in Reno when they arrive? No.

This isn’t to say that paper doesn’t have an expiration date. Undoubtedly, something much more useful and cheaply available will eventually move in. The Kindle has proven that traditional paper-based publications can be replaced by an equally legible and affordable electronic alternative. Inside a single Kindle, you can store thousands of books. As anyone with a sizable home library can tell you, books make up one of the hardest things to move from place to place in your entire home. It seems harder to move the books than it does the giant bookcase they sit on. The problem is, we’re not completely there… yet.

Bottom line: putting pen or pencil to paper is one of the defining experiences of a writer, doodler, or anyone who has ever wanted to jot something down to have a physical representation of an idea. To say that paper is a dead medium is, in my opinion, akin to calling standard monitors dead in light of multi-touch displays.

12 comments On Is Paper Dead?

  • That’s right!

  • 2 points:

    Every time I hear something about paper, or books, or libraries being dead, I consider that somewhere around 40% of households in the US don’t even have a computer. You see the effects of this if you’ve worked somewhere selling electronics. Some people end up buying the ipod or other devices, then return them because there is no way to use them without a computer.

    Also, for the most part, ereaders (not counting ipad) have no way to take notes, make a list etc. and no easy way to manage a large collection of ebooks.

    It’s something I’d really like to see.

  • 2 points:

    Every time I hear something about paper, or books, or libraries being dead, I consider that somewhere around 40% of households in the US don’t even have a computer. You see the effects of this if you’ve worked somewhere selling electronics. Some people end up buying the ipod or other devices, then return them because there is no way to use them without a computer.

    Also, for the most part, ereaders (not counting ipad) have no way to take notes, make a list etc. and no easy way to manage a large collection of ebooks.

    It’s something I’d really like to see.

  • Paper certainly isn’t dead. However, the way we use paper is becoming more and more targeted. For instance, day to day transactions have really moved towards web services. The only bi-product from this is a printed receipts. Accounting and government records keeping will always use paper, as storing data on hard drive or other electronic storage medium is relatively new and evolves rapidly. Offices are not paperless, not by any means. They still use reams and reams of paper, just not in the way that they used to do it.

  • Paper certainly isn’t dead. However, the way we use paper is becoming more and more targeted. For instance, day to day transactions have really moved towards web services. The only bi-product from this is a printed receipts. Accounting and government records keeping will always use paper, as storing data on hard drive or other electronic storage medium is relatively new and evolves rapidly. Offices are not paperless, not by any means. They still use reams and reams of paper, just not in the way that they used to do it.

  • I do a lot of work for university on my macbook I never use a book, however I still own a printer and go thought amounts of paper and not to mention ink just printing assignments and drafts. I think the pen will disappear before paper.

  • I do a lot of work for university on my macbook I never use a book, however I still own a printer and go thought amounts of paper and not to mention ink just printing assignments and drafts. I think the pen will disappear before paper.

  •  paper sheets may die, but post it notes will be forever

  • There are lots of ongoing discussions about paper on the hashtags #ecm #ecmjam -> pretty interesting divide

  • There are lots of ongoing discussions about paper on the hashtags #ecm #ecmjam -> pretty interesting divide

  • argh, I hate this paper with three holes !!! aaaaaaaah

  • argh, I hate this paper with three holes !!! aaaaaaaah

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