Leader: In praise of paper

Obituaries for paper and the printed press are written all the time. This, we are told, is the age of digital communication, of being plugged in wherever you go. What is the point of the physical book when you can carry over a thousand on a Kindle? What is the purpose of printing a magazine when you can read it in on your phone? This is the future, and paper’s not in it.

We beg to differ. As Ian Sansom writes on page 26, paper remains “the most ubiquitous, the most useful and also the most easily recyclable of man-made communication devices”. Newer appliances, in all their advancement, seek to emulate the look and feel of paper – it remains the benchmark for publishing. And in its own way it tells the story of our civilisation.

This is not to disparage the great strides of technology. At the New Statesman we are proud of our award-winning website and grateful for the unprecedented accessibility of information afforded by the digital age. But we also remain committed to paper, to the particular joy of holding a publication in your hands and turning its pages printed with ink.

This article first appeared in the 14 January 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Dinosaurs vs modernisers