Defenders of the status quo at newspapers, book publishers and the magazine industry are in a panic. Some are even misguidedly asking for government regulation or a bailout.
All three industries are doomed (if doomed means that they will be unrecognizable in ten–probably three–years). And yet…
And yet there's no shortage of writing, or things to read. No shortage of news, either. And there doesn't appear to be one on the horizon. In fact, there's more news, more images and more writing available to more people more often than ever before in history.
No, just about all of the whining is about protecting paper, the stuff the ideas are printed on, not the ideas themselves.
It's paper that makes the economics of the newspaper industry work (or not work). It's paper that creates cost and slows things down and generates scarcity. And scarcity is what they sell.
It's paper that makes the book industry what it is. As soon as you remove paper from the equation, the costs change, the timing changes, the barriers to entry change, the risk changes. And defenders of the status quo don't like change.
Is there not enough paper in your life? Why are we wringing our hands about the demise of paper as the economic gating factor for ideas? In fact, some of the trees I know are delighted that we've found a better, faster, cheaper way to spread ideas.
If the demise of paper means that good people doing good work in important industries will have to find faster and better ways to do their jobs, I don't think that's a bad thing.