The ever increasing speed of change in technology has had a major influence on the printing industry. There can be no doubt that it will continue to do so, and the Internet has been a substantial factor in this change.
Nowadays if we want to book a holiday or we need to travel, an ever greater number of people do so on-line, and any paperwork needed is printed out locally on our home printer. Thus travel companies and hotels are two areas where the demand for print has seen a major downturn.
The recent filing for protection from bankruptcy in the US of the mighty Kodak is a measure of the effect of digital technology and the Internet. Although of course there are many other factors.
In spite of this it is difficult to see a time in the short to medium term when there will be no printing. There is still going to be a need for ‘hard copy’ in many areas for years to come. Packaging and instruction as to how to swallow an aspirin are two immediate examples.
It is interesting that not only the older generation but many younger people who have grown up with screens and computers still find that on occasions the tactile feel of a book is preferable to a ‘Kindle’.
However with the combination of ever more productive presses and the lack of growth in demand it is obvious that the printing companies that remain as thriving concerns, will be those who provide their customers with the best service at a competitive price.
Ironically printing companies that embrace the Internet the most, in terms of a good web site and efficient quoting and communication via e-mail are proving to be among those enjoying the most favourable trading in these difficult times.