Which is better? Paper or Digital?

This is the question that always pops out in any conversation about content: it is asked by publishers, writers, readers, students, sales reps, journalists, marketers… Since the apparition of the tablets and ebooks, favoring one support implies being against another. What do you prefer? Next, we’ll present the advantages of each medium against the other so you can judge for yourself.

PRO Paper Arguments:

  • Reduced environmental impact: Although you have to cut down trees to create books, magazines and catalogs, the paper is biodegradable and requires no batteries or many other contaminants that are components of electronic devices.
  • It’s more convenient to underline and “work” with it: Unlike digital media, you can work with pens, pencils and traditional means in a very comfortable way.
  • Always has been used: As a familiar support, people tend to use it out of habit.
  • Warmth and Beauty: Using physical mediums provides physical stimuli: touch, smell and sounds difficult to imitate.
  • They need no battery: Traditional mediums don’t need to be charged and don’t break down after a long use.

PRO Digital Arguments:

  • Reduced environmental impact: In order to print the content on paper it’s necessary to cut down trees and use polluting inks. With digital media you can input from one to thousands of documents, books and catalogs with the same environmental impact.
  • Real-time updates: There is information that needs to be updated often. An update on physical mediums means lots of manual labor and reprinting completely. As an alternative, you can simply connect the tablets, computers and the ebooks to the internet and easily update the content directly.
  • Multiple uses: The paper is mainly for reading and writing, however the electronic devices can be used for many other things.
  • Interactivity: With digital media you can enter and consume data simultaneously, however the paper only offers one-way communication (input or output data).
  • Customization: Change the font size, the light intensity, connect to a TV to show a customer the images of a product in big format are things only possible with digital devices.
  • Weight: You can visit a client, read on the plane, study, and carry all the catalogs or books in a single device without having to carry piles of paper.

Conclusion

Is this really a helpful discussion? The best conclusion is that it doesn’t really matter and that every one chooses the format they like. The important thing is the content that these formats include: stories, news, images, product descriptions… And that these are distributed wherever they can better be accessed by the user at every given moment.
The important thing is not the support, but the information. We don’t know whatever technologies will be available in a few years, and what the trends will be, but what it’s certain is that the information will still exist; the paper is just another platform in a world of tablets, TVs, computers, web…
In the business world, managing the information efficiently may be the differentiator when it comes to taking advantage of the information technology. Do you know how to manage your content across multiple platforms? In this other post you can find some answers.

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