Why Paper and Print won't disappear

I've been pondering the conversation I had last week with marketing guy about whether print is viable as a communications medium -- particularly for B2B communications. There were a couple of posts that kept the brain juice flowing.

First, Brian Fuller points out that the changes in Middle East culture and politics are causing a boom in the newspaper business. Second, Rich Karlgaard, did a mini-review of the Amazon Kindle that mentions he can't look at a display for more than 30 minutes at a time.

This brings up two very significant issues that we like to overlook in our inexorable march to a digital future. Number one, more than half of all the internet traffic in the world occurs within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. Much of rest is split up among the rest of the United States, Europe and Japan. Only a very small amount comes out of the Middle East, South America and Asia where most of the world's population is. Access to digital media is very limited still and that is a big reason that print publications, even the B2B kind, still do well in all those areas. To dismiss print is to dismiss a very significant audience, not only for customers but for potential employees and technology partners.

Second, it has been shown again and again that digital displays are damaging to human eyes and a a significant cause of mental stress. That means that anything you read ion the digital media has to be consumed in 30 minute chunks a day, limiting the amount of time a potential customer has to find information about your company as well as the amount of space available for telling your story. Digital media as a communication medium is well designed for publishing news releases, shopping, marketing blurbs and blogs, but it isn't a world or market change yet. An the closer we get to a global community, the further we get from a paperless society.