2009: The end of print

EinkIt promises to be the tipping point of tipping points. As I argue today on Internet Evolution, 2009 is going to be the year in which the old print media industry -- newspapers, magazines, even books -- collectively falls off the cliff:

However bad 2008 now seems, 2009 will beworse -- much, much worse -- for the traditional print business. A deep, even catastrophic recession combined with an increasing public disinterest in paying for print products will result in 2009 being the year that the print business literally falls off the cliff.

The beneficiaries of this full scale crisis of print products will be the manufacturers of new e-reading devices due to be released in 2009 like Amazon's second generation Kindle and Plastic Logic's revolutionary new electronic-text reader. Here's how Business Week heralded the introduction of the revolutionary Plastic Logic product:

An electronic-text reader by Plastic Logic of Mountain View, Calif., due out in 2009, will be aimed at business travelers. The 8½ x 11-in. device, which downloads online content from newspapers and magazines as well as word-processing and other work files, uses technology that recreates print, not Web, versions of publications. The plastic-encased screen is thinner, lighter—and larger—than Amazon.com’s Kindle. Plastic Logic also is working on a reader flexible enough to bend like paper.

With electronic devices that successfully mimic paper, print will quickly become superfluous. I suspect that this is now inevitable. It's great news for trees, of course. And it's also excellent news for innovative entrepreneurs who can utllize this technology to reinvent newspapers, magazines and books for the digital age.