By: Sarah Dussome
October 4, 2016
If you’re anything like me (a self-proclaimed bookworm), it makes me sad to think that I may one day have fewer opportunities to smell and hold a freshly printed book. While it’s undoubtedly quick and convenient to download an e-book, there’s something magical about simply holding a book and turning its pages, creating a unique sensory experience that is different for every book you read. However, the popularity of quick, convenient downloads is swiftly changing the traditional print industry, significantly lowering the number (and availability) of traditionally printed books, newspapers, and magazines.
According to a 2016 survey conducted by measurement firm Vividata, more than 59% of Canadians read newspapers and magazines on digital devices even though approximately 90% are reached by printed versions on a weekly basis. The same study also revealed that 70% of digital readership is done on a mobile device, emphasizing the dominance of cell phones and tablets in contemporary Canadian culture.
However, despite the decline in printed media, I don’t believe it will be completely eliminated from our daily lives. While electronic media such as E-books and online magazines will significantly reduce the abundance of printed media, I think the latter will still be available in smaller quantities. According to the Los Angeles Times, a 2016 survey conducted by American University linguistics professor Naomi S. Baron revealed that 92% of her survey’s university-aged participants preferred to read printed materials over online ones. When asked, one survey participant said his prefers traditional print materials instead of online ones, as printed textbooks reduce the likelihood of becoming distracted online. He also revealed that e-books in particular are not yet fully integrated into the educational system and that students in general are simply not used to using them.
As Jody Medand suggests in the video above, I too believe that the future of traditional printing lies in the hands of consumers. While I can’t see the production of printed materials vanishing completely, it is the preference of the international majority that will continue to shape and determine its future.