We are just a week into the new year and we have already experienced the absolute power of print. The publication of the Duke of Sussex’s memoir Spare has generated more comment, more opinion and more argument than any of his or his wife’s previous forays into the media – more than high profile television interviews, more than the Netflix documentary series. A printed book has this power, even if very few people have as yet been able to read and ingest it. The presses will surely be primed this week for a reprint, welcome at a point in the year that book printers can be quiet.
It matters what is set down in print because print confers trust more than any other medium. This is a legacy from the time that print was expensive and slow, dependent on typesetting, galleys, several rounds of proofing before the ink was applied. Nobody would go to the trouble of printing something, unless it was worth it. And if it was worth it, the word could be trusted. Compare with a pithy comment spewed out on social media, often without thinking. There is power there for sure, especially when combined with others of a similar conspiratorial bent, but ultimately few Facebook, Instagram or Twitter comments endure. People may enjoy the ebb and flow of comments on social media. Few actually trust them.
This is why books will fly off the shelves this week. This is why there are great expectations for the new Smart Label technology, why investment continues in printed labels and packaging, why there is excitement around programmatic mailing. What is printed confers trust for banknotes and for packaging and print itself is to be trusted, even if the sentiments that are expressed in print may not be. Because they are in print we know at least that these are the words and ideas that the author intended, whether in a column by Jeremy Clarkson or the second born son of the country’s monarch.
Reprinted from Print Business – For forward thinking printers – eZine dated 9 January 2022 –www.printbusiness.co.uk