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Egon was right. Print is dead. (Except when it isn’t)

Bad news. Print is dead for what must be at least the seven hundred and sixty-eighth time this year.

Egon Spengler proclaimed that print was dead in 1984. It wasn’t. We all stood around the corpse of print when Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007, only to watch it get up, say “It was just a scratch”, and then go on to sell more books than ever before.

Now, publishers are warning that production costs are going to soar (just like the cost of everything else) and that changes will be necessary.

Print runs will be smaller and fewer books will be published. Maybe. Book sales soared during the pandemic and many consider publishing, even in archaic old formats like putting ink onto tiny slivers of a dead tree and then gluing them all together, to be reasonably recession-proof.

My guess is that print will never die until something better comes along. Something that doesn’t need to be charged; something that can be loaned to your friends; something where you can write in the margins; and something looks really, really good on a shelf. If it can also be made of trees, that would be good. Trees are getting to too easy right now.

In short, print isn’t dead. It might need a bit of a rest and a good cup of tea though.

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