Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Monday, 23 May 2011 16:18

Print continues to grow smaller in digital age


Last week there were two separate and seemingly unconnected but in fact very enmeshed events in the publishing world. Both indicated the continuing downward death spiral of hardcopy print media.

The first event was the announcement that Sensis - the directories arm of Telstra - would no longer automatically deliver the annual White Pages telephone directory to the doorsteps of its fixed line customers. In future, those who still want the voluminous monstrosity will have to request it.

(Sensis has asked that we issue the following clarification and for the sake of accuracy, we are happy to do so: Specifically, the White Pages Business and Government book is still continuing to be automatically delivered to every household in Australia. The change to the distribution process for the White Pages Residential Book applies to Melbourne and Sydney only. There is no change to the way that the Residential Book is delivered to households in every other market in Australia.)

Thus, several years after the White Pages was made redundant for millions of households throughout Australia, Telstra has finally conceded that in an era of mobile telephony, VoIP, the Internet, and environmental sustainability, a 10KG bound volume of paper containing finely printed names and numbers is obsolete.

In fact, pretty much the same thing can be said of the Yellow Pages. Who needs thick, heavy, out of date encyclopedic directories, in the era of the Internet and iPhones?

And following on from that, the days of having a home or business PSTN phone are pretty much over as well. An increasing number realize that VoIP phones are far cheaper, more portable and together with mobiles provides all the voice services any household could possibly need.

While most of us, who have been recycle-binning still shrink-wrapped directories for years, could foresee the end of White Pages, not so many of us are prepared for the demise of hard copy books. Yet the writing is on the digital wall so to speak.

Last week the world media, including iTWire, carried a story from the world's number one bookseller that its Kindle e-books are now outselling its print and paperback books combined. And, as most of us Amazon customers know, Amazon sells a hell of a lot of hardcopy books.

A lot of us skeptics thought that even with the advent of devices like the Kindle and iPad, the day of e-readers replacing books in the mainstream was still a long way in the future. Not so.

When major bookseller chains in Australia like Borders and Angus & Robertson start going out of business, then you know that something has shifted in the book business.

A few short years ago, we would marvel at how an online bookseller like Amazon could deliver a book half way across the world in a few days - a book that often couldn't be found in a local bookstore - for half the price that it could be bought locally.

Now we have devices, about the same dimensions as a thin book, which can download virtually any book you want in seconds in many cases at a cheaper price than the hard copy.

What's more these devices can store thousands of books, magazines and newspapers, enabling you to hold your own virtual library in the palm of your hand. Of course bookstores are doomed.

In fact, newspapers and even glossy magazines will soon be history.

Newspapers have been on the way out for a long time now - Fairfax has outsourced its print sub-editing jobs. It's only a matter of time before the major metropolitan mastheads bite the dust throughout Australia and the rest of the developed world.

Full colour, high definition devices like the iPad and the Android equivalents enable users to get access to anything that used to be printed on paper in a better, more convenient and easily digestible form.

The old fashioned, costly printing and publishing supply chain is all but gone forever. Has anyone wondered why it's so hard to get hold of an iPad 2 these days?

WEBINAR event: IT Alerting Best Practices 27 MAY 2PM AEST

LogicMonitor, the cloud-based IT infrastructure monitoring and intelligence platform, is hosting an online event at 2PM on May 27th aimed at educating IT administrators, managers and leaders about IT and network alerts.

This free webinar will share best practices for setting network alerts, negating alert fatigue, optimising an alerting strategy and proactive monitoring.

The event will start at 2pm AEST. Topics will include:

- Setting alert routing and thresholds

- Avoiding alert and email overload

- Learning from missed alerts

- Managing downtime effectively

The webinar will run for approximately one hour. Recordings will be made available to anyone who registers but cannot make the live event.



Security requirements such as confidentiality, integrity and authentication have become mandatory in most industries.

Data encryption methods previously used only by military and intelligence services have become common practice in all data transfer networks across all platforms, in all industries where information is sensitive and vital (financial and government institutions, critical infrastructure, data centres, and service providers).

Get the full details on Layer-1 encryption solutions straight from PacketLight’s optical networks experts.

This white paper titled, “When 1% of the Light Equals 100% of the Information” is a must read for anyone within the fiber optics, cybersecurity or related industry sectors.

To access click Download here.


Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



Recent Comments