Since e-books and other technology advances have made a splash in the print industry over the past decade, people have taken sides. Some started planning print's funeral long before the invention of digital readers while others have held the faith throughout every digital breakthrough. It's the latter group, several publications agree, that has got it right. Here's why these thought leaders believe print can't be replaced.
Bookshelves and hard covers
It's a timeless classic. Several people predicted that, like vinyl records, print will continue to be popular moving forward. This means that books, papers and documents won't be tossed aside just because digital options are now available. These convenient e-readers are an alternative but by no means a substitution.
Reading a book from a digital device isn't the same as turning the pages of a good book. As Mashable pointed out, e-books don't have the physical appeal that hardcover books do. People can't arrange them beautifully on a bookshelf. They aren't an item that would spark small chat between strangers on the train. They could but it might not go very far once one of the people learns that the other was looking over his or her shoulder.
Love letters and memoirs
The news source referred to Wall Street Journal contributor and author Joe Queenan's thoughts on the subject of print's existence. An American journalist and humorist, Queenan isn't afraid to say what other people won't put out there, which means his opinions are usually held with high regard.
Here's how the critic summarized his opinions with this passage provided by Mashable:
"People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred," he wrote. "Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel."
His affirmation is funny because it's true. He went on to explain that books provide him with an opportunity to connect with the past. This type of timeless connection between a person and a print product could be created in a number of ways.
Requires undivided attention
A person could open a pamphlet and out falls a piece of paper inscribed with a message from a former lover or friend. Paper automatically brings back feelings of nostalgia. It's quite difficult to jam a romantic note into a digital device. Queenan isn't the only one who romanticizes prints ability to bring people back to the past.
Literacy professor Ann Manager of Norway's University of Stavenger told Wired that reading the written word on print items is more of a personal connection. It's an emotional experience that has an aspect of human interaction to it, she explained. Where digital shortcuts are great for quickly perusing an article, books command the undivided attention of their audience – something leaders have been trying to garner for ages.
Apply print to business
The truths about print can be used by companies for marketing and brand strategies. Companies that have been shelling out a ton of money on digital efforts might find that print works as well. It's true that people are constantly on their cell phones clicking around from site to site. But when they're holding onto a catalog or printed piece of content, they're usually giving it their all.
A company's print product is an opportunity to connect with the consumer on a human level. A person can scribble notes down the side of a catalog and circle and highlight items they'd like to purchase. They can hold onto it forever. Print products offer such a glimpse into the past, which means there will always be a place for them in the future.