Could we look back at 2010 and say this was the year paper officially died? Let's look at a couple of interesting statistics:
What other emerging trends support the death of paper? How about the falling advertising revenue for newspapers (down around 30%) and magazines (down around 40%) during 2009. Some of this could be attributed to the slower economy, but not all of it. There is still some good news for newspaper industry. For example, 74% of American adults report they regularly read a newspaper (Scarborough Research). Plus, many will still pay for the content, assuming they feel it's valuable and easily accessible (Boston Consulting Group). But, the trends still suggest readers are shifting from paper to online content. Magazine sales and subscriptions are mixed, but there are some industry segments that definitely suffered major losses in 2009. The biggest segments hit seem to be business, financial and celebrity related rags (Based on a NYTimes article). Overall magazine subscriptions were up slightly.
Finally there is a flurry of tablet/slate computer rumors flying around the internet (here's a good summary). Many believe there is a new generation of multi-function tablet devices/PCs coming to the market in 2010. Big technology industry players, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, have all been discussed as developing next-generation tablet devices or components.
Imagine what these new devices could mean to education. How convenient would it be for students to receive a tablet device loaded with text books (would have saved my back in school!)? Students could store all their books, possibly classroom notes, music, movies, homework, and other files. Many schools already issue laptops and allow them in the classroom, but few students use them for reading books and taking notes. These new devices, should they become a reality, could change that.
What about reading/viewing or listening to your favorite magazines, newspapers, TV shows or books in one device? With a tablet/slate device you could have embedded video, links or other interactive content as part of the articles. Having all that information in one small device could save a lot of desktop and briefcase clutter.
Personally, I can't wait for a new tablet/slate device like the ones described above. My iPhone and iPod Touch have already changed the way I receive/carry information. The majority of my simple browsing and communication with friends and colleagues can easily be done using these devices. In 2009 I listened to more books via audio than I read in print. I also let two of my favorite magazine subscriptions lapse after about 10 years of loyal readership, and this is directly attributed to the ability to get much of the same information online.
What do you think? Drop me a comment below...
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