It seems that the printed word is dying

Darned things, these Computers!   Remember Typewriters?   Simpler machines that required greater use of one’s faculties. It’s truly amazing how technology is allowing us to not use our brains. We now have GPS systems so that we think that we no longer need to learn an area or use printed maps!

Magazines are becoming exclusively online publications more and more, which is unfortunate for a trained printer like me.   While there will always be a need for some printed things, many of those things are now printed overseas, where the labour is much cheaper. Many things are now printed by machinery that goes automatically and unchecked.

Out of what’s left, there is something now on the market called a “Kindle.” It is roughly the size of a pocketbook and one is to download text onto it for a fee. The downloads are temporary and your book can get deleted at any time from it by the publisher. Talk about totalitarian, Orwellian futures!   Other companies will likely be producing similar items soon.

Photo by Cindy Lopez

Two centuries ago in North America the newspaper was king.   People would follow political debates that lasted days and the printed word was considered permanent. Certain religious fanatical groups, in the interest of allowing people to use their own judgements, even refused to write down their views out of fear that future generations would treat them as rigid rules despite the situation.

Newspapers at that time were thicker than newspapers of today. Since that time, however, the media have done all they can to shorten people’s attention spans.   With the advent of “New Media” which at first meant radio, then television, then the internet, many newspapers have been closing.   Others have been eliminating their printed editions and those that remain often outsource their printing to companies that print many newspapers in a single facility.

Things like forms and invoices no longer require a pre-printed form to look professional.   Any laser printer in any office can reproduce what needs to be done.   No longer do we see carbon paper or carbonless paper forms or dot-matrix or daisywheel printers for whatever reasons.   Photocopiers are now as sharp as presses and you can no longer tell if a page is a photocopy of a photocopy. Nobody even uses the archaic term “photostat” anymore.

Another industry that’s dying is the film industry.   Digital cameras available to the general public and machines like CTPs (Computer to plate / Computer to Press) and digital presses are replacing whole pre-press departments, saving companies millions of dollars and leaving thousands of hardworking people like me unemployed.

Remember Encyclopedias? I haven’t seen a new one since Wikipedia and the like came out. People’s first resource now is the internet. The whole question of questionable content is now a moot point, no longer bandied about like it once was.

Forget the Box Magazine is at present exclusively an online magazine because it is so much cheaper to do this online.   As much as I would love to print a published version, I can’t afford to. There would be one if only I could afford a printing press of my own!

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