Digital fails to see off paper

It is fairly obvious that in a digital society, the consumption of paper will decline.  Newspapers are seeing lower circulation, notices that were previously circulated in print are now sent as emails, and by and large digital rules the day.

Indeed the level of paper use by magazines, newspapers, book publishers and the like is predicted to fall to 21% of its 2010 levels by 2015, according to a report released by RISI, which provides information to the paper industry.

The report is called “The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Markets,” (a snappy title I am sure you will agree).  It predicts that tablet device sales will reach 195 million units by 2015 and this will be a further contributory factor in the decline in paper usage.

“Obviously many paper producers make their living selling paper to the publishing industry. Those companies will be greatly affected by media tablets,” John Maine, RISI’s VP-world graphic paper, said in a statement.

So is that it for paper?

No, most certainly not.  As I write this piece on a computer I have four sheets of paper on my desk.  One is for me to make notes on, the other three are items relating to my work which I want to see as I write – without having the hassle of flipping backwards and forwards on my computer.

I, like many others, don’t buy as many newspapers as I previously did.  I used to have two (yes two) a day.  Then one.  Then the Sunday went.  Then the dailies, leaving me with the Saturday edition.  Now that’s gone, and I read anything I want online.

And yet, the papers still survive, and when I have more time (such as during holidays and the like) I go back to buying and enjoy the more substantial articles which are a pain to read on line.

Which reminds me of a second point.  It is not just the growth of digital that is reducing the demand for paper – it is the speeding up of society, where it seems everything has to be done yesterday.

Now the key thing with trends is to remember that ultimately they stop.  Something happens and people decide not to follow that trend any more.  Those who were late to jump on the bandwagon find themselves left with acquisitions that are very much last year’s news.

So, what really is the future for paper?

There are already signs of a bounce back since more and more people are realising that everything sent by email can be seen by anyone who wants to see it, whereas documents can’t.  Also the look and feel of magazines has gone, and many (like me) find that a shame.

And this is why Admiral Document Storage is still here.  Rather than seeing an inexorable move to the end of paper as the opening quotes predicted, we are now seeing a growth not just in paper use, but also in paper storage.

If you have some paper you’d like to have stored for a later date, do get in touch.  We’re still here, and will be for a long time to come.

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