Will the digital Technology of our age destroy print once and for good? Does the invention of computers, e-readers, tablets and smartphones poses a serious threat to the printing press?

Will the digital Technology of our age destroy print once and for good? Does the invention of computers, e-readers, tablets and smartphones poses a serious threat to the printing press?




The rise of the machines is at hand, age of electronic devices has begun and are adding a great boost to printed work.

Ink and paper has been there for over five thousand years, there is no assurance that they can be eradicated by the rapid evolution of electronic devices in just a few decades, they are just there to boost the printed press as a learning tool. But never to eradicate them. Printed work is more reliable than digital work, though history shows us that entire libraries have been burned by raging fires both accidental & deliberate, and tones of written records destroyed by natural hazards such as water or aging.

The invention of airplanes made travel easier and faster, but it did not eradicate road travel by vehicles or sea travel by ships, which has been there for thousands of years.

In fact electronics will multiply printing process by tenfold. Electronic material becomes more enduring than print material because it gets into the hands of many, therefore a loss from an individual would not affect it. As there are millions who have made copies for themselves.

The attitude that people have towards electronic reading of academic texts hasn’t changed a little. As you imagine you are going to stare at a blank screen with some imaginary ink and paper inside for hours till your eyes become sour or hurt. It sounds both strange and amusing.

One day an elderly fellow asked me, “I want to keep my Will & tittle deed in a safe place where I can find it whenever I need it,” I suggested that he should see a software engineer who will give him better advice, as soon as he heard that, he walked away saying, “please don’t tell me any of that, I know all about it, you send your personal confidential files or documents to be stored in an unknown place where nobody can go. Where exactly is that place? Doesn’t it have a name a location, an office where you can go to claim your documents when you need them? I prefer to keep my papers in simple tangible form than to have them sent to mysterious locations where every stranger can have easy access to them.”

I realized that the more you try to explain to him the more scary and confusing it becomes for him to understand, so I decided to end the conversation. The world is stranger and scarier now than it was before, many elderly people will admit this.

At the academic halls in campuses, the librarian says, we have thousands of academic texts on our library shelves we have about ten times more on our electronic library, we encourage students to open up as many books as they can related to their courses, they didn’t have to be physically present in the library because they can log in and access them from virtually anywhere. What puzzled him most was that only a handful of learners  visits the electronic source while an overwhelming majority come to the library grounds to study the printed texts, electronic sources have many advantages” he says since you don’t need to be physically present in the library to access them, you can read them anywhere anytime, are convenient to carry around. No more bulky luggage of books, one thing we don’t understand is why no one reads them much as they read printed texts.

E-Book readers are overwhelmed by the large amount of books they need to read at a short period of time, this quickly leads to discouragement.

One student who was studying geology then said, “I would like to have printed copies of my maps as well as we look at the electronic versions. As we do survey on land, I would pinpoint places, draw markers on locations and put symbols on target areas on the map. it’s just the feel of it we love, long after we are done with our planning at the round table, we roll up our maps and put them in backpacks and begin walking up straight the mountain, once you are on the mountain, no electronic gadget becomes useful where there is no network coverage or power.”

Another student led out her grievances saying that someone stole her gadget when they had gone on a trip. She lost all her notes, her books, some saved work and photographs of the assigned destination. She had not backed up any of her research notes on paper which means that she will have to start again from scratch. It has been many months since she last wrote on a piece of paper that could be why she did not imagine what could have happened.

To me it’s no different story, you often find too many things competing for your attention from the same screen. But you can do only one at a time, you have to sacrifice all the others to attend to only one. many articles lay there in the background without   being touched, sometimes you even forget of their existence and drift away into uncertainty, unless it has very important information that you treasure very much, unless you are under immense external pressure to read e.g. exams mode for the course or a job demand, you might never look at that book. So many applications competing for the same screen that only a few, say a handful end up being used in the long run, you become like a fellow who subscribes to a thousand satellite TV stations and end up utilizing only one channel during the entire summer holiday, since there is only one screen and you can watch only one programme at a time, many stations are left unused for the sake of a few.

On the other hand print works quiet well, people love just the feel of books, magazines, papers etc. when you go home with a piece of magazine that has no attractive cover , or a book with an entire black cover , and drop it onto the table, other family members will pick it up and try to look at it no matter how unattractive it may be on the cover , they may spend several minutes or hours starring at the pages, just perusing through, the feel of it is just so great.

When you ask a friend to take a look at an interesting news bulletin on your electronic device, exciting news story you must read and asked them to do the same, once you have handed them the gadget, they don’t even finish the entire text, instead they flip over the other pages, turn off the newsreader and explore other programs on your device or search for pictures or videos on your device. A completely irrelevant information.




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