The triumphalism of the digerati and their unblinking zeal for all things digital – especially if emanating from Cupertino, California – can be wearing. So, I’m sure PrintITwasn’t alone in celebrating the news that both Foyles
and Waterstones enjoyed significant increases in book sales last December, just as the growth in e-book sales appears to be stalling. Indeed, according to a report in The Times, James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones, believes the market share of e-books has probably now peaked at around 30%. This was bound to happen at some point, just because of what books are, or rather, what they are not. A recent survey of 2,000 smartphone owners by Tecmark found that the average smartphone user checks their device 221 times a day – yes, 221 times a day. The more we rely on tablets and smartphones in our daily lives, the greater the attraction of ‘switching off’ with a good (printed) book.
Obviously, the printed page is much less attractive in a business context – especially for firms based in London’s West End, still the world’s most expensive office location according to the latest ‘Global Prime Occupancy Costs’ survey from CBRE Research. This shows that prime occupancy costs in the West End now stand at $274 per square foot, per year – way ahead of most other Top Five locations, including Hong Kong, Central ($251 per sq. ft); Beijing, Finance Street ($198 per sq. ft); Beijing, Central Business District ($189 per sq. ft); and Moscow ($165 per sq. ft). Businesses with banks of filing cabinets full of printed paper should start scanning immediately or consider a move to Durban, South Africa where occupancy costs are just $15.29 per square foot.
While better use of scanning and display technologies will almost always lead to a significant reduction in printed output and paper storage in commercial organisations, their impact in education is less clear-cut. As the experts interviewed for our education special make clear, new software-based teaching tools often promote printing, especially colour printing. This obviously has a cost, but it should be welcomed as paper has been shown to help students understand and retain information better – something that print and paper vendors ought to do much more to publicise, especially in this age of the connected classroom. By implementing print controls to eliminate wasteful or unnecessary printing and by adopting electronic workflows for school administration, education providers can ensure that their expenditure on print is directed to where the benefits are greatest.
Following PrintIT’s suggestion in the last issue that encounters at centralised MFPs are something to be welcomed rather than frowned upon, it was interesting to see that Konica Minolta has created a wide staircase in its new R&D offices (see page 13) to encourage serendipitous encounters between colleagues. After the long Christmas break, all those stairs are also a great way to get fit for 2015.
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