Is the print world taking a loss due to the proliferation of digital media? At this point, not really. Master print companies have been around forever and have a solid hold on the industry, but that future may be shaky.
What Can Digital Media Do Versus Print Media?
At this very moment, print companies should be seeing a bigger loss of revenue, but they are not. Digital media is releasing books at an astounding rate.
Digital signatures are just as secure as a pen and paper signature. So why are print companies not seeing a bigger loss. Most likely because there is something that print media does that is never accomplished by a piece of digital media. It is something that is hard to put into words, but it is worth millions of dollars.
Both types of media have their place in this world for many years to come. It is somehow connected with the tactile feel and presence of paper. When a presentation is being made there is a place for both types of media. The IT department can put together a presentation that will really wow the board of directors. It then takes the print company to create a black and white set of numbers to hold in their hands. You put the wow on the screen and the facts on the paper. Holding a chart that shows numbers that get bigger and bigger is as good as holding gold.
Knowing the Difference
The layout is simple. The board of directors wants to hear why they should give department X $10,000 for Project Y. On the table are enclosed leather folders that hold around fifty pages each. On the screen is a floating logo of the company. The presentation goes into the flashy digital media and begins to show charts and graphs with increasing figures. There are interspaced pictures that were carefully chosen to hit an emotional chord in those watching and then it happens.
There is only so far that the flashy presentation can go. Even if there are facts and figures in ten foot letters on the wall, they are not the same as black and white on paper. The team instructs the board to pick up the packets that the print company put together and the real selling begins.
People feel better when they hold something in their hands. A tablet with a digital document is wonderful, convenient and portable, but it does have carry the psychological weight that print media can create. This may or may not change as time goes by. Surely future generations will start placing importance on different things than its forefathers, but at this time there is still enough power in the older methods that print companies are not going anywhere.
Rather than try to fight and change the way that people think, it is best to go with the flow and do what works. Print companies and digital media companies are not so much enemies as makers of complimentary items. The shoe manufacturer does not fight with the sock company, they coexist and each takes its own share. Paper solidifies and digital excites.
What to Use and When
One good rule of thumb is to simply have the paper reports ready and at hand. Show the digital media and see how the information is accepted. If you are trying to make a sale, then show them your presentation and if they look like they are going to head for the door, show them the same thing again on paper.
The same is true for employee training. Most companies combine a movie or video with a written book. The written book is easy to take home and not every group of employees at a company needs to be given a laptop to carry home with the training materials on it. At the same time, you can’t count on every employee to have a computer at home, so the print company is still needed for many functions.
It has been rumored that our plastic ID’s and credit cards are soon to be replaced by the information in our mobile phones. Paper money may be running on limited time also. Until security is improved on these matters, there will still be a place for paper and the printing companies. Time will surely tell a different story and all companies should be ready for change. A company that does not watch the horizon will miss the sunrise.
A book collector will tell you there is nothing like the smell of 200 year old paper. The sound of the pages, the way the text blurs a little after a long night of reading, these are the things that will keep the print companies in business for at least another decade or two.