Paper: a dying relic, or here for a long time to come?

We are in an interesting, yet confusing time, of transition. We have various types of people in the world currently:

This leads us into a fascinating time of variety and choice. Yet it leads to annoyance in many people’s eyes.

For example, if I am handing in a uni paper to someone, how do I do it? Well, it depends on the lecturer. Some lecturers like us to email them the papers, or put them online in our VLE. However, some like us to print it out and hand it physically into the office. This leads to the constant weekly thing of “how are we handing this one in?”, and, frankly, I spend far too much time doing that.

Let me take another example…books. If I were to want to buy a book, generally I would have to get it in paper, as most of the books that I would want are not in any electronic format. If I want a uni textbook…I must buy it physically. Which is an annoyance for me as I don’t want that. Sure, I may be able to get it in an illegal form on my computer (there was an example where one of the textbooks that we used last year was circulating through the class in a pdf) but we can’t get them, in general, legally.

This leads us to the question, “Will paper be with us for a long time, or will it just go away please?”. I think that it depends on what paper is used for. In general, paper will be with us for a long time, but for some things it just makes sense not to have paper at all.

Back to the example of books, do I want a bookshelf full of 100 books, or a nice little e-reader that fits in my bag with everything on it? I know the answer to that one. Same with textbooks. I just got rid of 25 Chemistry and Chemical Engineering textbooks, and they were taking up so much space in my room, which I really can’t be bothered with. So, actually in my Computer Science course I have only ever bought 1 textbook, because I just can’t be bothered with the space. In this way, I believe that paper will dissapear. Or at least books will become a rarity. Much like vinyl, tape and many other technologies, it will become a niche thing. Sure, it’ll still exist, but the majority of people will love the convenience over anything else.

I have at least 2 women in my life who both love books, and they will continue to argue with me about this. They think that paper books will continue to be important in everyone’s lives, but they are the exact type of people who will keep buying books. They are the book enthusiasts. Much like vinyl, film and tape enthusiasts, they will continue to say that their way of doing it is better while the rest of the world starts to ignore them.

There is nothing wrong with this, I am going to have to live with books because 1 of these women is my girlfriend, and I accept this. But generally the rest of the world doesn’t care about it. They want convenience over anything else. They always do.