I just got done posting about how the printing industry needs to take the lead in internet applications, in order to keep print alive and thriving as a media. Then it ocurred to me that I hadn’t really contributed a solution, I’d just restated the problem. I’d better fix that 😉
Here’s a framework for finding the opportunities:
Become a user of the Internet. I don’t mean just the typical stuff any late-adopter would do, like Google searches or email. I’m talking about the new stuff. Web 2.0. Web 2.x and 3.x. Whatever you want to call it. Get on the leading, bleeding edge. Yes, this will take some time and even some conversations with few zealots to learn the ins and outs. I am sure you have a few working for you.
You need to become a user of this stuff. Become enough of a user that you depend on it. That you need it, at least whatever stuff you can end up needing, because some of it actually is garbage. But there’s a lot out there that isn’t.
OK, you are a user and you are dependant. Now for the valuable part:
Get rid of your laptop, and PDA.
What are you missing? What do you really wish you had printed on paper in your briefcase? I bet you there will be something. If you want it, likely there are others, maybe lots of others. Start printing it.
How about a custom printed magazine that contained all the blog posts from all of my best customers who are bloggers, that I can stick in the can and read while I’m in there? How about doing this for all the blogs in a particular industry, or in a particular region?
How about a Flickr catalog, sold to subscribers? Or a Linkedin directory? These companies probably won’t work very hard to promote a paper copy. You see, they don’t own printing presses or binding and distribution equipment and don’t really want to buy any. But they could probably be convinced to partner up with folks who do.
How about just a general printing and distribution service for the Internet – whatever you want, we’ll print it, bind it, and send it to you on a regular basis. I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why this could be very valuable. I can also see that some of it will fit the much of the printing, binding and distribution models already in place. Of course, there will be some adjustments required, and that might just require some equipment, much like my employer could produce, but that, I assure you, is beside the point.
The point is that the web will create opportunity for printing, if we want to make something of it.