I’ve got about ten tabs open in Mozilla, all of which are articles I’ve meant to blog in the last few days but haven’t gotten around to. So, here we go.
A couple days ago Wired News reported from Seybold 2003 that “the print industry is hobbling but it is far from dead.”
[W]hat will most strongly drive the workplace to “less paper” — not completely “paperless,” Romano quickly added — are wireless devices. As post offices raise the price of postage to make up for the decline in mail, offices will mainly conduct business using e-mail, conference calls and handheld devices that they will lend to their workers. This business practice, in turn, will drive down the prices for handheld computers.
By 2015, a laptop will cost a mere $300, compared with $1,500 today, Romano said. A tablet PC in 12 years will cost $40, a PDA $20, an electronic book reader $30, a pocket TV $10, and a combination Web-enabled cell phone and e-book reader $70. Even though these gadgets exist today, they cost up to 50 times more, as is the case with the tablet PC, for example.
An interesting claim. I don’t know where the financial projections come from, but notice that the assumption is that hand-held, portable, wireless devices– technologies that (like the e-book) seek to reproduce some of the physical and ergonomic qualities of paper documents– are the thing that could reduce paper use. (Of course we all know that, so far, computers have increased the amount of paper used in offices.)
And yes, there are print publications that have seen subscriptions decline thanks to online competition, but no type of publication, I would argue, has been transformed as radically by the Internet as the encyclopedia.