Paper is not dead

While speaking at the Learning Technologies conference in London, I went downstairs to see the trade show. The exhibition hall had hundreds of booths and I was told that 12,000 people had signed up. When I arrived, it looked like all 12,000 were there. I quickly got a feeling of sensory overload and tried to filter the signal from the noise, but could not.

little book of inspiration
Then I came alongside the Reed Learning booth and saw a series of booklets in racks on the exterior posts. They immediately caught my eye and I took one. This is significant, because I try very hard to leave any trade show with nothing physical in my hands. I hate carrying extra paper products that usually get thrown out, but I really liked the look and feel of this one so I put it in my bag and returned to the much quieter conference floor.

The next day I showed the little book of inspiration to Jane Hart, who also thought it was quite attractive. As we thumbed through it, we realized that we each had written articles for the book, but I had completely forgotten about it. The best part of the book, in my opinion, is how each article has its own artwork and typography. Everyone to whom I have shown the book likes it.

It’s always good to remember that old technologies can still serve an important function in our digital world. Paper products can provide a tangible connection to our words that is not available online. By the way, I got 10 copies, in exchange for a copy of The Social Learning Handbook 😉

engaged for work

Engaged for Work – The Little Book of Inspiration – by Reed Learning

Here is the link to the online version of my article: Engaged for Work

The Little Book of Inspiration is available as a PDF from Reed Learning

2 Responses to “Paper is not dead”

  1. Dave Ferguson

    Paper’s not going to die, any more than in its infancy it was stopped by laws meant to preserve the hegemony of parchment.

    Like you I’m glad to live in a digital, hyperlinked age where technology can so often obviate distance, whether social or geographic. Paper can obviate those, and temporal distance as well.

    Someone asked me once what electronic performance support was. I said, “A job aid with chips.” I wasn’t completely serious, though I do think the hyper-technological (“Everyone must learn to code–preferably by Thursday!”) could benefit from a few days or weeks out of range of a power cord.

  2. Jordan Sanders

    Completely agree. Although the use of readers (ie, the Kindle) will continue to grow, paper will never “die out”. Rather, it will continue to hold a revered place in our society. In a rapidly evolving digital world, paper has the potential to make a tactile impact that digital text cannot hope to achieve

    Long live paper!

    Jordan Sanders,


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)