The Future of Print

July 6th, 2010 · 45 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

I’ve spent the past month listening and reading. I reminded myself of all the positive, cool, exciting projects happening in publishing today — and there are many (I’ve been asking those involved to post here to share what they are doing). I’ve considered what happens next, and focused a lot on what readers are saying, about books, digital and print.

Though everybody is writing about ebooks and the digital experience these days, I find I don’t have much new to add to the conversation; I’ve said it all before. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong, sometimes I evolved. I still absolutely believe that user experience is — after the content of the book — the most important place for publishing types to focus their attention.

I’ve given up on reading banal analysis and wild conjecture. I ignore anything with the word “killer” in the headline or lead. If there’s a question mark in the headline — Will the iPhone Destroy How We Cook Dinner? — I don’t even bother to click through. I presume it’s a question the writer is asking himself, not actually bothering to consider with any depth. It’s just vague punditry designed to fill the web equivalent of column inches.

That is not to say there isn’t smart analysis out there, but tea leaves from a moment in time do not predict the entire future. We spend far too much time worrying about who will “win” (what this means, nobody can say) and who will “lose” (again, what does this mean?) and what people really want. This final one annoys me the most because the pronouncements often come from those who have no idea how the technology they are praising — or dismissing — is used by real people.

Which leads me to an email I sent to my friend Melissa Klug, a book and paper aficionado. She thought she was asking for a few quick thoughts on the future of print. She got a medium-length essay (mostly reproduced below…mostly, because I cannot resist editing and revising and rethinking and updating). For those who prefer an abstract to reading long pieces, I’ll make it easy: print will remain important, but our relationship with print will change.

Print is not dead. It is not even dying, at least not yet. Think of print like an overweight beast, shedding excess weight. The result is a leaner, more defined, more beautiful experience. What we buy in print will be increasingly valuable as readers shift to the digital realm — and they are shifting so amazingly fast, it’s almost terrifying.

Print, for many types of information, will become far less important. It’s too slow for our world, too clunky for an increasing number of people. I read that a publisher is “crashing” a book on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It’s due out in September. Given the volume of information already published and the way public interest flags, is this too long a delay? What will the book offer than other sources don’t? It’s the same relevance conundrum facing newsweeklies.

Major newspapers will continue to see diminishing print runs, but this mostly because the kind of information they provide is more easily consumed in the digital environment — it’s the old joke about reading yesterday’s news. Clay Shirky is giving newspapers fifty years. I think he is being generous.

With the Internet and television combining forces, “news” becomes more immediate. Newspapers/news publications did a horrible job of anticipating the future. They did a horrible job of understanding their own strengths. This doesn’t mean news is no longer important. It’s that these organizations seemed to miss what made them critical in the first place. We don’t pay for the weather, we don’t pay for box scores (anymore), we don’t pay for day old breaking news. We don’t pay for print versions of stories that are changing by the hour.

Of course, that leaves the world of analysis as the currency of journalism. The news is the easy part. Putting the information into context is valuable. It’s what is necessary to encourage people to pull out their credit cards (see above about vague punditry — it’s not what people want). In fact, analysis, context, synthesis are the future of information, and I worry that journalists have lost this talent. I will spare you more thoughts on this except to say: your children should all be library science majors!

So print — cheap, disposable, ephemeral print — will become marginalized, probably faster than we realize. But also slower than the doom-and-gloom types believe. “Print” is not a small idea. We print all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons, and that isn’t going to come to a full stop. Until our robot overlords decree otherwise, we will be creating all sorts of printed materials.

Most will not survive the day they’re created. This goes for books as much as newspapers and other time-limited information.

Setting aside the cheap, throwaway print products, the future of print is valuable, beautiful, useful…quality. As I sit here, surrounded by print publications of all types, I see what I value. I read. A lot. I haven’t been precious about format in well over a decade. Or decades. I was the kid who read cereal boxes — sometimes the same box of Life over and over — if there were not other words available. I want to read. What I find now is that I gravitate toward the format that best suits the type of reading I want or need to do at that moment.

For fiction and narrative non-fiction, I am 100% digital. It kills me that I get so many ARCs in print — if it’s something I want to read, I’ll buy the digital version of a book a publisher sends me for free, just because I want to read in my preferred manner. I do a lot of reading at the gym, on planes, during the interstitial moments. Digital works for me on so many levels, particularly because I am aligned with the Evil Empire. They created a seamless purchasing and reading experience for me. That’s another post.

(Aside: on my last trip to Europe, I impulsively tossed a hardcover in my suitcase because I loved the author and — funny — the last print book I’d bought was hers. Never let me loose in Waterstones! I was flying business, and my suitcase, packed for three weeks, two divergent climates, was just a smidge overweight. Yep, the book. So I pulled out the book and shoved it into my already heavy backpack — two laptops, a Kindle, my phone, various chargers, and a hardcover book. Yeah, that was me, bent over double. Sadly, the book was one of the author’s weaker efforts, a shame as her previous book was really compelling.)

So, print. I buy magazines in print. I haven’t warmed to the digital versions. I think magazine publishers are going out of their way to make the experience as unlikeable as possible. It’s not a feat to replicate the print edition in digital format, full page fidelity and all. What I — and it seems so many others — want is a magazine that takes advantage of the technology. Magazine publishers don’t seem to get that, or maybe they think we are happy with okay, good enough, sloppy.

We’re not.

Much of what I read in magazines is available for free on the web, but I find my relationship with the print content and the web content are different. I like to revisit them, to touch them, to buy the special issues (did you know there was a Dwell “100 Houses We Love” special issue? I am too messy to be modern, yet I drool over Dwell). I like to cut out pages, to save pieces, to enjoy the rhythm of reading magazines. It’s different, you know.

I want my digital magazines to give me that sort of joy — it is obvious that magazine publishers/app developers haven’t really thought much about the user experience of digital magazines, or, heck, the user experience of print magazines. Reading the articles is just part of what happens.

I’ve stopped subscribing to print magazines. I buy individual copies when I remember because I’ve been burned by magazine publishers. They’ve shuttered the titles I love and, to fulfill their own terms, substitute stuff I have no interest in reading. I don’t trust the publishers to do right by me. I’d probably consider iPad subscriptions if the product and prices were better, but so far, no dice.

Then the books. I am a bit of a cookbook addict. While I love the How To Cook Everything app (shopping lists, timers!), I also love flipping through glossy pages and seeing the finished dishes — knowing mine will never look that good — and lists of ingredients. I will buy the print version of this book. I love the books published by Ammo. I still get giddy over my art of Samurai Shamploo book (what? you haven’t watched the series? We need to talk!). I went to two independent bookstores to find an art book the husband didn’t know he wanted. I saw it at last year’s Comic Book Day, knew it was perfect, noted the title, and, sigh, Vroman’s didn’t have it — I started at Vroman’s because they have awesome greeting cards, and that is really important to me, since it was a holiday gift and all.

So yeah, I was that slightly older woman in the comic book store buying their last copy of the book. The box was a little messed up, but that is fine. The pages are filled with the artwork he digs.

I also have this crazy weird book from the 1970s of houses from a home decor magazine (can’t recall title — think Architectural Digesty) that I adore even though not a single thing is something I would ever consider for my home. Also, we have a precious copy of Arlene Dahl’s Always Ask a Man. It is the basis of my household’s “always let him think it’s his idea” philosophy.

These are books I want in print, want to flip through, want to touch as I remember lines or images. There are many more of these in my collection. The print books we — that collective we — want to keep are a blip compared to the books produced every year. For me, they are a blip compared to the number of books I read in a year. Most of those have very little value to me. I read, I discard.

There’s no telling what book might find a place in a permanent collection, but five seconds in a used bookstore (physical or digital) is enough to prove that much of what is printed isn’t valuable enough to remain a permanent part of most libraries. These are the type of books I believe we’ll see dying in print first.

My theory is that readers will grow more and more intolerant of those books that have no real value, books that are worn out before they are unembargoed. And no point in pretending you can keep the best parts from leaking out. The future of print is not day-late print versions of last year’s news. Let’s be honest here: most of these print books are bought at deep discounts by consumers. The “value” assigned by purchasers is far less than the value assigned by the publisher.

This is why, when the bookcase fairy finally delivers my dream bookshelves, I will not be dragging out every book I have stored in the garage. In fact, the longer the books remain out of sight, the less important displaying them becomes. Just as friends are comfortable browsing the house’s iTunes library, they happily page through my Kindle, sampling and discussing. What I will keep when I finally open those boxes — ah, the love and care with which they were packed! — will be those books on the endangered species list. Books that cannot be bought in any other way.

Most, but not all, of these are candidates for digital repurchase. Yes, you read that right: I will rebuy books I love in the format I prefer. As long as publishers don’t engage in stupid pricing tricks (see: book originally published in 2006). I’ll be honest, these book are not must-haves for me. They are want-to-haves. It’s the job of the publisher to make it an attractive purchase for me.

I cannot predict when the shift from mostly print to mostly digital will happen. I suspect it will be like a patchwork quilt. Print becomes more valuable when it becomes less disposable. We will happily invest in quality because what we buy is something we want to preserve — and display — for a long time. I think we interact with different media in different ways. I’m not a smell of books person, but I am a tactile person. Different types of content (the wrong word here, but nicely umbrella) demand different types of interaction.

Print and digital are different experiences. It’s not good or bad or right or wrong. It’s what the book, the story within (be it fiction or non-fiction), requires. Some stories can be told in every format possible. Some must be purely digital. Some demand the pace of print.

To me, the future of print is irrevocably tied to the consumer’s ability to acquire those books they deem valuable to them. This might mean buying a gorgeous book from Ammo Books from the get-go. It might mean buying a beautiful edition of a long-loved book. It might mean acquiring a physical copy of a digital book (or, vice versa: the digital companion of the print book).

What is important is that these print version be quality — good covers, excellent paper, binding that doesn’t fall apart. Handmade, one-of-a-kind, original, limited edition, personal. The shift to digital reading is taking place rapidly, and there will be a point in the not-too-distant future where we stop thinking either/or and embrace either/and.

Is this the future you are preparing for?

File Under: The Future of Publishing

45 responses so far ↓

  • Guy LeCharles Gonzalez // Jul 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Great post, Kassia!

    The simple recognition that “different types of content demand different types of interaction” is one that is seemingly lost on so many people, both in and outside of publishing. The evolution of digital content will offer opportunities that print can’t match, while also highlighting the unique aspects only print can offer.

    What will be lost in the transition is the “excess weight” the publishing industry needs to lose anyway, and good riddance to all that, I say!

  • Mark Barrett // Jul 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Good stuff, Kassia, and not too far afield from where I stand after (almost) a year of looking at the same landscape. Much of what you describe speaks also to scale, and to the inevitability of an overall decline in printed tonnage in preference of print/object quality.

    It’s not necessarily the case that large publishing houses won’t be able to make this transition, but bureaucratic survival instincts will almost certainly give smaller shops the opportunity to excel in this area. Like Hollywood twenty years ago, and the games biz a decade ago, publishing seems ripe for an independent movement — even if the more successful indies are only swallowed by the big fish in the end.

    At the very least, practices, models and expectations will necessarily evolve.

  • Tom Jenkins // Jul 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Love the patchwork quilt analogy! And you have totally captured the uncertainties surrounding the shift from print to digital.

    I would like to add to your statement “the future of print is irrevocably tied to the consumer’s ability to acquire those books they deem valuable to them,”; it is also tied to printing books as they are ordered and wanted, opposed to printing a million copies of a book that may never sell as such which takes away from the real “value” of the books to begin with.

    I came across a “platform” for publishers called “Pipeno” which claims to put the power back in the writers’ and consumers hands. If what they claim is true, will writers start migrating over to “platforms” like these? Will the future of publishing in the digital age steer the power back into the writers’/consumers hands?

  • Pablo Defendini // Jul 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Done and done—perfectly said.

  • Holly // Jul 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I am 58 and grew up in a household filled with books; my current home is also filled with books. All are print; none are digital. If I walked over to my bookshelves right now, I could pick up one of my grandmother’s books, open it to find the notations she wrote in the margin. When holding one of her books in my hands, I feel a connection with her, and the value of the book transcends any literary value contained in the novel that sparked her comments. I worry that connections like this will be lost when fewer books are printed, when throwaway books are read and discarded digitally. The thought of having only expensively bound books in a home troubles me because my grandmother didn’t write in the margins of lavishly printed books, it was the inexpensive ones that allowed her the freedom to pencil in her thoughts.

  • Kat Meyer // Jul 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Kassia – you are so NOT a slightly older woman. You are a hot young thing.
    But, the rest of your post was dead-on. I’ve been chatting with some really interesting people doing really interesting bookish things with paper. Interesting and smart. “Not throwing the baby out with the bathwater” kind of stuff. I shall keep you posted. :) (DIGITAL DIVAZ DIG PAPER TOO)

  • Journaling | Like Fire // Jul 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm

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  • Jodi // Jul 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    I will be embarking on the digital road this year with my own work. Funny because I will always need to feel a book in my hand. I would like to think there is room for both in this industry.

  • Ryan Chapman // Jul 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Really enjoyed your post Kassia. I agree that the proliferation of formats will adhere to the content and reading habits of the individual (and, increasing the scope, indicate trending to the market).

    And I too have felt really burned out by all the hysterical prognosticating around ebooks and whatnot. We don’t have to “save” anything, or “win” or “lose.” We just have to experiment intelligently, see what the reader likes, take it from there.

  • Debra Moolenaar // Jul 7, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I have to agree with Holly, who at 58, has seen a bit of the way the world turns.

    The society in which we live is already ‘disposable’ enough without our inability to see past the end of our noses making it worse!

    For example, you won’t be bequeathing your kindle to your grandchildren will you as did Holly’s grandmother her books. And even if you do they’ll be interested in it solely for its antique value, I should think – for by then it will have been replaced with ‘improvements’ a million, zillion times.

    Such is the case for many books I must agree.

    HOWEVER, some books (at least the good ones) are the recipient of human IDEAS – our shared HISTORY our IDEALS.

    As such I believe they should be treated with the same respect as we’d treat fine art – and I’ve not yet heard of anyone suggesting we ought to dump the Mona Lisa in The Louvre for a digital copy – have any of you?

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  • Patrick Jungla // Jul 7, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I have never coveted CDs, I much prefer having 2,000 songs on my mp3 player.

    Print books, however, are important to me. I like to look for books in second-hand book shops. I travel a lot, but I’ll only take one or two books with me for the journey. Flights are never usually longer than 12 hours, and at the destination there will be another opportunity to buy a book.

    I agree that ebooks would work really well for manuals and academic books, which are heavy and need to be updated on a regular basis.

    Self-publishing could yet be the saving grace for print books, as the ebook market is going to be swamped with poor and badly-prepared novels by aspiring writers in coming years.

    I know ebook screens aren’t backlit, but my attention span for reading in front of a computer screen is close to zilch, whereas I can sit in a chair and read a print book for hours.

    Fancy covers and handbound books aren’t the difference here, the difference will come down to whether you want to hold a computer screen in your hand.

    Best wishes,

    Patrick

  • Kate Sullivan // Jul 7, 2010 at 7:39 am

    As a publisher currently working digitally, but planning to expand into both trade and limited-edition print in the next year – AND as someone who has worked in both daily news and the magazine industry – HEAR HEAR. I couldn’t agree more with this post, and you’ve said everything beautifully.

    I firmly believe that there will always be a place for print, and even for “low-rent” print…mass-market will probably become digital-only in the future, but I see well-produced trade-size paperbacks and hardbacks, as well as limited-edition, finely bound texts sticking around. People do want to hold a book, jot in the margins, put it on a shelf, give it to their grandkids. That won’t go away. But the printing ecosystem will change – I agree with Tom Jenkins above, that short-run and so-called PoD printing will play a much larger part in maintaining print in the future.

  • Heather McCormack // Jul 7, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Hiya, Kassia.

    Good work putting into words some extremely prevalent consumer attitudes toward reading that no one, especially publishers, seem to be bothering to collect. It all makes me very excited about the future of libraries, actually. Like many other people, I believe libraries can–and should–continue to preserve what our culture deems worthy of preserving–in print and in digital. There is personal preference, as you outlined: those physical books you still keep around because you love to touch them and they are so gob-smackingly gorgeous (I’m a tactile reader myself; got this James Dean photo essay book that I stare into every couple of months), for instance; then there are libraries, which, if they’re good at what they’re doing, reflect their communities. In other words, they do macro-curation. Both types of collecting feed each other and are absolutely essential to reading, publishing as a business, and, yes, librarianship. We are nothing without readers and their endearing, maddening loves, hates, and mood swings.

    -h

  • Kevin Smokler // Jul 7, 2010 at 10:07 am

    It’s all about choices, isn’t it? Either or/chocolate or vanilla just sounds like reheated Cold-War thinking to me.

    As you fabulously point out, Ms. K, want something to survive? Make it beautiful. I spend way more than practical or realistic on vinyl records b/c they are beautiful things. Then I rebuy them on mp3 b/c I can’t carry a turntable in my pocket.

    The more choices we have, the more things stick around. Ubiquity is our future. Thank you for showing it to us.

  • Nicola Griffith // Jul 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Great post. Bang on.

    My first novel came out as a mass market paperback original with an orange jellybean spaceship on the cover. Utterly disposable. A couple of years later it was reprinted with a nicer cover. Then it came out in a trade edition with a one-page B&W map and glossary.

    Mostly, now, readers buy it in digital form but the trade paper edition is still chugging away. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if, one day, some tiny press licensed a luxury hardcover collectors’ edition, sold by subscription, on delicious paper, with full-colour fold-out maps and so on.

    Publishing these days isn’t about either/or. It’s and/and.

  • Clive Warner // Jul 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’m not optimistic for the future of paper books. Market forces are driving consumers rapidly towards EReaders. But the problem with that idea is, who wants to carry an extra device just for reading?
    No I don’t think so. Everything will possibly end up on the phone.
    In this regard Apple act like some kind of primitive dinosaur. I wish you would start a dialogue on this, Kassia.
    Question: I am a small press owner. How do I put a book on the iPhone.
    Am I supposed to learn Objective C or pay a programmer to render a complex print object into low level source code?
    Is this really what Apple wants? To turn back the clock to that we all have to learn low-level programming languages? This is crazy. I have no desire to go back to writing in Wordstar with its .op this and its and all that crap. Maybe Steve Jobs would like us to write books in machine code?

  • Clive Warner // Jul 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    The blog software caused a typo by removing my angle brackets. Should read:
    . . . . and its ‘Control W’ and all that crap

  • Sara D. // Jul 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks for the AMMO Books mention! We’re certainly pleased to hear you think our books are the type of print worth investing in. Obviously, our books are the kind that require print to survive indefinitely, so I hope you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    Thanks again for thinking of us and for such an insightful post.

    Best!

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  • Heather S. Ingemar // Jul 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Great post. I think you’ve got it. We’ll keep the books we can’t live without, the children’s books that get passed down through generations, or the ones we love to read and re-read. We’ll keep the treasures, the useful books (cookbooks!), but a lot of the rest will be digital.

    The beauty of it all is having choices. :) If you want digital, you can get it. If you want audio, you can get it. Print? Exactly the same.

    It’s a beautiful thing.

  • Kassia Krozser // Jul 7, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Wow — so, so many comments, some that have me thinking more (Clive!). I’ll be responding as time permits — my cloning machine didn’t work the way I expected, so I remain a bit slow.

    I’m really pleased that the idea of either/and resonated. It’s not a new thought, and I’m not even sure I recall who I stole it from. I suspect it was Tim O’Reilly. The bottom line is that this change is happening, it’s happening fast, but that doesn’t mean choice is disappearing. I believe the number of options — digital, print, audio — means more people can access books.

    To me that’s a good thing.

  • iamtheangel.com // Jul 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Call me old school, but I can’t imagine print going away completely. It’s like CD’s, some people still need something you can hold in your hands.

  • moimystique // Jul 8, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Nice article here. But I hope to provide another perspective: print might become obsolete in certain countries but many countries around the world will still hold a huge market for the same. I’m in the publishing business in India and we have decades to go before print goes out of print, so to speak. The digital experience has not yet made its mark here and we have a long way to go before e-publishing becomes big.

    I suppose I’m an old-fashioned person and I don’t find ebooks fun to read though I warm to the search option. There’s a thrill in turning a page – physically. Also, used bookstores are my favourite haunt :)

  • Sean // Jul 8, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Went print goes something great, humanity needs to be doing great things these days, will die. It was said earlier by a few commentors, physical books are noble and digital books are merely convenient. Paper books force a sort of attention to things that is dying out. I’m sorry but the death of physical books is not a transition but simply a death.

  • Theresa M. Moore // Jul 8, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I believe in making both kinds of books available. When I was in junior high school I grew muscles because I took seven courses and each course had a book which weighed 5 pounds. We did not have lockers, so I had to lug the things around campus balanced on my hip (this was before the backpack thing became cool). If I had an ereader then it would have made things way easier. But having said that, there are some books which are designed NOT to be read on an ereader, and those are the ones to be treasured. The print book is not dying, per se, it is merely being shelved (pun intended) in favor of the convenience of being able to read unencumbered by sheer physical weight. And in this age of national security and so on, I would not like to have to leave something I just paid for behind. There is no death of physical books, and unless you live in the world of “Fahrenheit 451″, there is not likely to be.

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  • Shaz // Jul 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Couldn’t agree more!

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  • Shelley // Jul 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I love the image of your reading even the cereal box. Although my work is on the Internet, I long for it to be in a book, for the reasons you say here–because it’s touch, it’s permanent, it’s closer to…real.

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  • Anna // Jul 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I agree with many of the points made by Kassia, digital is a convenient format and saves us space and time, etc. But…isn’t there always a but?…Warning, there is a high horse below and I am upon it.

    I have profound concerns with access for the poor. Printed books allow the poor (which I was one of as a child) to have access to books via the library, a friends loan, second-hand shops, etc. (This obviously doesn’t include the larger world market where the vast majority do not access to computers let alone e-readers.).

    The publishing industry has always been an odd amalgam of money making industry and the preserver of ideas, culture, and human experience via stories. It is the second part of that I think needs consideration and perhaps the greatest of care. There is already a gap between the haves and have-nots, what would it mean to deepen that gap by making the ideas that help pull people out of poverty inaccessible? And before folks say anything about kids having access via school, we are all well aware inner city schools and very rural schools have limited/to no access to computers let alone other digital readers. And of course we can say that the libraries have computers. How many does your library have? Should libraries have e-readers to check-out? How many do you think it would take to service a community? What would the wait list be on that?

    But what about the idea that there would still be print books? Let’s go with the idea of books moving to a primarily digital format and the print market adjusting to become something that is aimed at people who really want a book experience, etc. How would the market price such books? I would say that the $24 book would be the norm.

    Some numbers to consider. 37 million Americans are considered poor. A family of four living on $19,771 is the government threshold for defining a family as poor. Now pay your rent, buy your food, pay the utilities, buy your bus pass or pay your car payment, pay for a doctor’s appointment. Now, get the money to buy an e-reader or even a $24 dollar print edition.

    And a last thought in that same vein, America’s poverty growth is increasing every year.

    I think about the first time I read The Grapes of Wrath (in the discard bid at a local Goodwill, probably someones “cheap throw-a-way”) and Jane Eyre (same bin) and all the other books that I read from the library, second hand bookstores, and from friends. They all helped inform who I was and am. They allowed me to see a larger world. I would like to know that in the future others, who will never be able to afford an e-reader and the like, will be able to have that same opportunity.

    Of course all of the above assumes that in the 21st century, reading and access to books is a human right. I know that an industry is not responsible for assuring that everyone is afforded such a right, and perhaps, money-wise, it is best to see reading and books as a privilege. But maybe this particular industry, that holds the collected ideas of generations, should perhaps think of its product, that great thing called a book, in a different set of terms?

    I have heard many arguments pro and con on the move to digital. But I think that people miss a significant part of the issue when they don’t consider what that move means for one a large segment of the population, the ever increasing poor.

    …and dismount.

  • Sean // Jul 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you Anna for that reply! I totally agree with your comments on access to books for the poor. I’m a teacher and give away free books to students every year. Can’t very well give away Kindles now can I? I’m also a book collector and feel that the further gentrification of access to quality books means doom for the average person of low or fixed income that wishes to read. Yes I know libraries will still be there but what happens when their copies of books are discarded because of age and no new books replace them? And seriously if there are 50 people on a waiting list for a book from the library and it’s prohibitively expensive to buy an upscale paper copy or an e-reader doesn’t that seem like East Germany in the communist era when a grocery store might have 5 loaves of bread, 50 cases of vodka and one lonely pork chop in it? Again, well said Anna.

  • This Week in the Self-Publishing and Writing Blogs: July 4 – 10, 2010 — The Book Designer // Jul 11, 2010 at 12:03 am

    [...] Kroszer on Booksquare The Future of Print “To me, the future of print is irrevocably tied to the consumer’s ability to acquire those [...]

  • The future is still quality | Publish or Die: How to publish a book or photo book using print on-demand // Jul 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    [...] this quote from The Future of Print article by Kassia Krozer on Booksqaure. To me, the future of print is irrevocably tied to the [...]

  • Scott Nicholson // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Very thoughtful analysis. Thank you. So little of the “e-book war” discussion actually mentions readers at all, so this is refreshing.

    Scott Nicholson
    http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com

  • To Succeed, Publishers Must Experiment… and Fail | Digital Book World // Jul 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

    [...] The Future of Print by Kassia Krozser [...]

  • Adrianna Dane // Jul 13, 2010 at 7:03 am

    A great post, very spot on. And I used to read billboards and cereal boxes as well. I agree that there will be room for both print and electronic. Perhaps more selective print and print on demand. I also agree with your take on the reasons at least some of us buy print magazines as opposed to wanting to read them in digital format. I do that clipping stuff, too.

    Great article!

  • Ty Johnston // Jul 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    As an indie author and a former newspaper journalist, I believe this might have been the best post I’ve read on expectations for the future of print. It’s not going to die completely, but it’s going to change. What book publishers need to do is find a way to work with both digital and print. Newspapers didn’t. They’re dying. I know. I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

  • Monday Snax inauguration « Little Stories // Jul 19, 2010 at 10:08 am

    [...] The Future of Print. (Booksquare) A really intelligent and thoughtful piece about what will happen to print media, by Kassia Krozser. [...]

  • Desde este otro lado » El inicio de la verdadera edición digital // Jul 21, 2010 at 3:17 am

    [...] tiradas en cualquier sitio o que regalamos sin decirnos nunca eso de ¿a quién se lo dejé? En este interesantísimo artículo de booksquare hablan del tema, cito lo más relevante: “Print is not dead. It is not even dying, at least not [...]

  • die Zukunft der hölzernen Medien | akephalos // Aug 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm

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  • Someone finally says something intelligent on the future of print… | Blog, by Shannon // Aug 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    [...] on July 8, 2010 by Shannon I have been thinking about this fantastic post over at BookSquare on “The Future of Print” ever since I read it yesterday. It takes a lot of my thoughts and gripes and pulls them together [...]