Electronic Media and Books Now Affecting the Paper Products Industry [Report]

According to a recent published report, the paper products industry is now being affected by consumers choices to forgo traditional print media for digital media. The findings come from the Spring 2012 outlook via the The Conference Board of Canada. Three notable highlights from the report are below:

  • E-readers—E-readers and tablet computers are now reaching a critical mass of saturation among consumers, leading to declines in the sales of paper books.
  • Print Ad Spending—A post-recession rebound in print ad spending has not materialized in the key U.S. market, where demand for newsprint and communication papers continues to wane.
  • Pulp Prices—Pulp prices dropped considerably in the second half of 2011, driving down production and revenues. Prices have begun to recover, but the benefits will be slow to materialize for domestic producers.

“The transition of information and media from print to electronic format has been going on for years, but until recently the effects were most pronounced for directories and newspapers,” said Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Economic Trends. “With the current batch of e-readers and tablet computers, it appears that a critical mass has now been reached and books are likely to follow the same path as newspapers.”

We previously subscribed to the newspaper many years ago but that was soon cancelled. I just didn’t have the time to sit down and read the paper, plus the news was old by the time it reached my hands. The only reason I pick up a newspaper now is if I want to remember what it feels like to hold paper.

Apps such as Flipboard and Zite make consuming information easier and with stories breaking in real-time on twitter, there’s no point of reading a paper unless we want to read in-depth articles when traveling.  I don’t think paper will disappear anytime soon, but the massive demand has definitely shifted thanks to digital formats.

So, should we count this as a victory for trees? Do you still read the paper or physical books?