Are we in a post-printer world? / by Adrian Pearson

Do you have a printer at home? Does it get used?

I have a colour printer that I haven't used for at least six months. It does a great job when asked, it's just that I obviously haven't had the need.

Not so long ago, buying a printer was the second thing on your shopping list, after you had bought a PC - how else to get your stuff "out" of the computer to pass to someone else?

Of course, nowadays we live in a connected world and getting information from your machine to any number of different devices, owned by any number of different people is easy.

From a business perspective, printers (and paper) no longer make sense. A business recipient wants the information you send in digital form. If you send them paper, they have to go to the trouble of digitising it themselves - either by re-keying using their own PCs or scanning. Even a consumer recipient is nowadays more likely to prefer an emailed PDF that they can effortlessly save. The whole digital to analogue to digital loop is pointless.

Paper costs money, needs handling and consumes trees. Letters need stamps envelopes and, maybe, licking.

Not so long ago, in my accountancy firm every member of staff had their own, personal laser printer on their desk. Now it's just one networked printer in the office - and that gets used much less than you'd think.

Kodak failed to convince the world that we still needed film in the age of the digital camera. The likes of HP, Epson and OKI will lose the battle to convince us that we still need printers.