Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kindle and the End of Papermaking

If you've been paying attention, you'll have noticed a few things over the last 20 years.

1)  The number of commercial printers has dropped like a rock.  At one time, Milwaukee and Philadelphia were twin centers-of-the-universe in printing, with behomoths here publishing the phone book, magazines, annual reports, and Golden Books (etc.) for half the country.  Now, what remains are a few 'instant-print' operations which are being shredded by the Kinko's revolution) and Quad--which is also consolidating their print facilities.

2)  The output of those remaining printers has dropped, too.  No longer do publishers order 50,000 of "title X" or "magazine Y" in hopes of selling them, and then eat (or re-cycle) the unsold copies.  Now it's all print-on-demand--meaning that a publisher can literally order 3 copies of "title X" or "magazine Y" and have them shipped to "Location Z" (or your home address, thanks to Amazon) within one day.

3)  Thus, the end of papermaking.  No, it's not really THE end--so long as there are Gummints, paper will be consumed.  Forms, you know.  Your papers, please!  But all those mills up Nort'?  You'll see less of them.  Commodity papers--like for the HP/Epson you have at home--will continue to exist, and be made overseas, where trees, labor, and enviro-regs are cheap, cheap, cheap.  But book-quality, or magazine-quality?  Less and less.

4)  This will be a problem for Gov. Walker.

1 comment:

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