Computers and the Internet Bring About the End of a 244-Year EraPosted: March 14, 2012
“Print is dead.”
You may have heard this statement at some point in the past couple decades with the rise of computers and the internet. In truth, published books, magazines and newspapers are still alive but appear to be on their last legs. Between computers and now e-readers and tablets, more and more people are opting to read digital print.
Many top publications are now shifting their focus to their web presences for that reason. With the shift of print towards digital, advertisers are shifting there too. You might think that some of the most traditional publications can still weather the storm and stay on paper, but yesterday’s big news indicates otherwise.
As reported by CNN yesterday, after 244 years, Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer print books.
Just think about that for a minute – they’ve been printing their encyclopedias since 1768, before the United States of America was its own country.
What things were invented after 1768 but before the computers and internet that have brought about the end of this era? The steamboat, the electric light, the battery, the typewriter, the sewing machine, the safety pin, the dishwasher, the bicycle, the telephone, plastic, film, radar…the list goes on and on!
What’s amazing about this is the indication of something bigger – possibly the end of publications on paper in our lifetime. Which begs the question: How long have we been writing on paper?
Here’s a nice little tidbit from Wikipedia (and yes, ironic to be quoting an online encyclopedia in an article about the death of a paper encyclopedia):
In Ancient Egypt, papyrus was used for writing maybe as early as from First Dynasty (3100 BC – 2890 BC), but first evidence is from the account books of King Neferirkare Kakai of the Fifth Dynasty (about 2400 BC).
So from 4,400 to 5,100 years, there have been “books” written on “paper”. What came before paper? Tablets of many different kinds:
Stones could be the most ancient form of writing, but wood would be the first medium to take the guise of a book. The words biblos and liber first meant “fibre inside of a tree”. In Chinese, the character that means book is an image of a tablet of bamboo. Wooden tablets (Rongorongo) were also made on Easter Island.
So yes, we’re seeing even more irony when the digital tablets of today are helping bringing about the end of paper writing. In a way, tablets are getting their vengeance!
Industries that are hundreds of years old are giving way to the internet, and while there will always be a need for offline businesses, soon most if not all of them will need an online presence to stay competitive. But with hundreds of millions of competitors, you need to stand out, which is why we always express the importance of getting a better domain for your business or organization.