Print media has been around for a long time, our history has been recorded through physical print and still is, albeit that most books are also available in digital format. The inertness of a physical book makes it easy to protect and is not affected by electronic or magnetic interference, heat and electrical spikes. A book will last longer, maintaining its original character and allowing print collateral to transcend time with more than just the printed words, the paper tells its own story. A digital page does not engage the reader with the feel or heft of a document, nor does it allow you to experience any sense of touch and doesn’t have any smell! Unless of course your device is busy overheating.
Print and paper combine into a persuasive medium
Physical print appeals to more of our senses enticing us to spend more time engaging with it. During COVID lockdown we ordered a meal from one of the many food vendors delivering to homes. The food arrived beautifully packaged and wrapped in classy paper with a handwritten note on quality paper thanking us for the order. We never bothered to use anyone else thereafter. Print and paper combine into a persuasive medium, which people tend to spend more time on, making it a stronger source of messaging.
Print can truly captivate readers
For someone committed to reading an article, print will offer an uninterrupted reading experience, without the distractions of emails, auto-playing videos and notifications taking the spotlight off the article. This results in generating greater engagement with the content which impacts the reader’s long-term memory retention. Which in education is important and studies have shown that reading comprehension is better via printed material than digital. A textbook dilemma: Digital or paper?
How green is your footprint?
A lack of concrete information?
To proclaim that paperless is better for the environment than digital, a massive amount of unbiased research is required to back these claims, but there isn’t much unbiased literature available comparing paper and e-media. Paper has been around for far longer than digital and as the oldest form of communication, paper’s life-cycle is easy to track, however e-media is young in relative terms and it’s environmental impact is only starting to become apparent especially as e-waste starts to accumulate in developing countries.
Is it Paper vs Digital or Paper & Digital?
In conclusion it might not be about paper vs digital but rather a view where both electronic and print media are used in a way that meets our social and environmental and economic needs.
On a side note, imagine your daily life without paper, I had a look around and here’s my list of items made from paper in my immediate space: desk-calendar, printer paper, notepad, book, poster, cardboard box, catalogue, business cards, manual and a pad of sticky notes. I could have gone on but stopped at ten.