The other day, my brother in law, a dentist, told me that he recently attended a continuing education course and dental conference, and, instead of the materials being handed out in the form of “hard-copy”, each attendee was presented an iPAD on which all of the course and conference materials had already been downloaded.
The iPAD was included with each attendee’s registration pack; as you might imagine, the cost of registration for the course and conference was not cheap. (He already owned an iPAD, so, after he returned home, one of his family members got the new iPAD.)
All reprographers who offer “small-format” document printing services, I’m sure, have, at some point in the past, benefited from orders for printing conference, course and training materials. The question is, “at what point in the future might demand for ‘hard copy’ printing services for materials of this nature almost completely evaporate?
A bit less than two years ago, I had the opportunity, right after Service Point Solutions’ GlobalGrafixNet conference was over, to stay at a fancy hotel in downtown Rome. When I checked into the hotel, there was a conference getting ready to start – it was some sort of training conference for sales reps who worked for a large pharmaceutical company – and, to support the training courses, the conference organizer was handing out very thick (I think they were 4” thick) 3-ring bound manuals; each manual had approximately 16 tabs and over 500 sheets printed 2-sides. There were around 100 or so manuals; nice print job!
With the proliferation of e-reader and tablet devices, such as Amazon’s, Apple’s, Barnes & Nobles’, etc., not to mention the fact that most businesspeople travel with their laptops, the trend towards e-publishing manuals (as digital files), rather than publishing hard-copy manuals, is rapidly growing. It won't be long until that printing work almost completely disappears. 5 years? 10 years? What's your guess?