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Could the Sony Reader replace the printing press?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by House, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. House

    House Guest


    So, could this be our future? A friend of mine showed me this today in a tech magazine and I found it online. The magazine (and I forget which one) also had a photo of a larger version for downloading newspapers. Not just a paper's Web site, but what the actual paper looks like. How? PDFs, just like what most papers post on their sites today.

    As for an alternative to newsprint, I dunno. Maybe another five or 10 years? Take a look for yourself.
  2. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    In college, about 12-13 years ago, a prof basically said "this is what journalism will be in a generation."

    He predicted the paperboy would bring a disk by (the Internet was just the domain of email and nerds back then), and we'd just view a customized version of the newspaper on our screen ... which looks very similar to the Sony Reader.

    Still, you can't fold it up and take it on the train, nor can you do the crossword on it.
  3. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    I am not familiar with the Sony product, but I switched my Hockey News subscription to e-form, using something called Zino Reader.

    I hate it.

    I never claimed to be cutting edge, but I thought I'd embrace this, mostly because my mail subscription always arrived late. However, I've found I am even more behind in reading it this way because I have to make an effort to read it. Before, I'd leave it around, open to my place, and I'd pick it up and read five minutes here and there.

    We might laugh at the whole "you can't fold it up and take it to the bathroom" thing, but it's absolutely true. I have fallen so far behind in reading because I can't just read an article over breakfast before running out the door. I don't have the software on my office computer so I can't read during down time, and I can't read it during my lunch hour unless I lug in my laptop and download it there, too.

    I just don't see newsprint going away.
  5. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    So what makes this so much better than the e-books from 10 years ago? Okay, it's clearer, but as has already been pointed out, there's natural advantages to the printed/written word that can never be replicated electronically (it's always going to be easier to go to the middle of a story or to move from page to page physically than via computer, plus an open newspaper of two broadsheet pages is like having eight widescreen monitors in terms of field of vision).

  6. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I read somewhere that if the newspaper was a recent invention it would be hailed as perfection.
    Portable with no batteries and cheap. Super cheap, I can subscribe to my local metro for almost three years before I would hit the cost of one video i-Pod.
    Until the technology can catch up with that, or is so whiz-bang cool, the foldable, magnetic screen comes to mind, you will always see newsprint.
  7. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    I never thought I would stop buying CDs. Gotta have that packaging. Downloading music, pffft.

    Took all of three years for me to change my tune on that one.
  8. House

    House Guest

    While it would be great to have subscriptions to multiple papers via PDF on one machine, it's too high-end to become a product everybody can own. The price alone will even keep the iPod generation away - at least $500 for the small version and few hundred more for the larger "newspaper reader." This will be what keeps it a niche product at best.

    And you can't use it to package your wife's crystal candlesticks for a move either.

    Yes, Zino is great. And by great, I mean shit.
  9. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    If the technology ever gets cheap enough, these will start spreading. Remember, TVs used to be too expensive for most people. Same with DVD players and computers. Now they're everywhere. Of course, those offer access to media that more people are interested in than books or newspapers, or at least that they're interested in paying to experience in a new way. When you spend a bunch on a new DVD player, it's because DVDs offer a better experience than video tapes. How much better, if any, will this be than a regular newspaper? I'd bargain most people won't see it asas big enough of a difference that they're willing to spend several hundred dollars for it.

    Of course, there is something to be said for being able to carry around a virtual library on a few memory sticks. I think this will be more for bibliophiles at first, but it will spread some. Will it replace newsprint? Probably not, at least not anytime in the next 20 years, and definitely not with PDFs. Reading a newspaper story off a PDF isn't user-friendly enough. Now, if more papers use technology to allow readers to go from a PDF to a display of the story itself, or if newspapers ever start catering to these type of devices more for delivering news, you might see more people going to something like this for news. And when these get to where they include wireless technology and can download the paper each morning or access it without downloading it, then things will be more interesting.

    But I still see newsprint as the main form of newspapers for the next 15-20 years.
  10. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    The selling points would be portability and the ability to download multiple papers. Making a device the size of a standard broadsheet seems impractical, but I could see making it work with tabloids. And it would be sweet to eliminate the excuse of why we can't get West Coast scores in the paper, because this doesn't rely on Bubba making the rounds in his '89 Bonneville at 3 a.m. for the sake of early commuters.
  11. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    The Columbia Missourian and Mizzou have experimented with the PDF software that could be downloaded onto one of these. It's called Emprint and is a totally PDF based program. The paper has a couple issues a week available for download, and they look a little like a newspaper, but it's still not close enough for me. You can "flip" through pages and click on the tabs for different sections, but it's not developed enough yet to really replace the print version. I can easily see, though, it being to that point in about five years. There really would be limitless space, and the opportunites for advertisers are pretty cool (links to websites, multiple layers of ads, etc.)

    Here's a link to the Emprint editions

  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    To bounce off that point ...

    What about raising the price of newspapers again? Most daily papers around the country seem to be about $0.50 daily and somewhere around $2.00 on Sundays.

    Would it make much difference to bump most papers up to $1.00 daily and maybe $3.50 Sundays? It's always caused a splash when papers raise their prices, but hell, let's consider a business decision here:

    Hundreds of millions of people pay almost $5 for a fucking coffee (coffee!) from Starbucks every fucking day. (Me included! Although not every day.) Does anyone honestly think that the hundreds of millions of people who read a paper every fucking day aren't going to plop down an extra $0.50 to read it? C'mon, let's be real.

    Circulations are dropping anyway, so this won't stop the flow there. But maybe a little extra cash flow can help stem the losses a little. Why isn't this being considered? Or if it is, what's the consensus?
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