Of course the big story across all forms of media at the minute is the phone hacking scandal which (partly) led to the shut down of the News of the World sunday newspaper. I say partly, as readership numbers have been steadily falling for years now across the board on both daily and weekly rags. I’m quite sure that the Murdoch empire could afford to sacrifice the one newspaper in order to concentrate on other areas anyway, and of course to satisfy the baying hoards amongst the media and the paying customers as a whole.
It seems entirely possible that newspapers may not even exist in 5-10 years…..well at least not in their familiar paper form anyway. And it’s not just newspapers that are careering into the depths of obsoletion – but all forms of printed media including books and magazines.
Paper has had to fight its corner since the dawning of the computer age, but has really had to stand its ground with the rise of the internet, mobile phones, emails, ebooks and social media sites. Even online banking has had a massive effect – I mean when was the last time you remember writing out a cheque? I had to send a cheque off to the DVLA this week, and after a lengthy hunt around the house finally found an old tatty cheque book with the first 2 digits of the year being 19.. I knew it had been a long time since i last used it but 12 years!? That really has to take the biscuit!
Even libraries that are fighting tooth and nail to stay afloat are succumbing little by little to the digital onslaught , trading old school card catalogues for electonic data bases.
So it seems a done deal – the halycon paper days are most certainly numbered. Or are they………?
Every digital device that you purchase – even online purchases, all come with paper instruction booklets, even if they also include an instruction disc.
Paper is the most successful communication innovation of the last 2000 years – one that has lasted the longest and had the most profound effect on civilisation. Yet most of the time we dont even see paper as technology. It is such a simple medium requiring no circuits, chips, ports, screen or speakers. It just sits there passively waiting to perform. Our own paper eureka moment occurred over the past 2 weeks, when we had the misfortune to suffer multiple computer server breakdowns – and who was there to pick up the pieces? The humble Post-It note and the fax machine – half relying on technology half relying on paper. Without these, we would not have been able to keep samples and orders moving through the factory and offices (albeit a little slower than usual – apologies to all our customers).
For me, the ebook will never replace the whole experience of reading a book. The feel of the book, the print (different sizes actually put me off reading some books), and of course it could never replace the smell of an actual book. I know i’m not on my own as a schoolfriend (Ann-Marie Robinson, – i’m not afraid to name and shame ) gets great pleasure from book sniffing. There are even libraries and galleries that hold special book smelling sessions, but so far i have managed to keep my compulsion to myself, unlike Bibliophile Karl Lagerfeld, whose love of books has led him to create a new fragrance – Paper Passion. It is a joint venture between Lagerfeld and his publisher of choice, Steidl, who distribute most of the designer’s photography books, and will take its inspiration from printed and unprinted paper, with a touch of linoleum and a fatty olfactory note. It is already being worked on, and so it shouldnt be too long before it is on the shelves. The fragrance will be sold inside a hardcover book that will have the pages hollowed out in order to hold the flacon.
And for those of you that cant wait until the perfume comes out, there are plenty other paper inspired fragrances on the market such as Demeter’s Paperback, Zadig & Voltaire’s Tome1 or Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligons or indeed just ask us at Carvansons to recreate your very own ‘book’ scent so that you can tap into your digital media whilst spritzing the room with Eau de Musty Olde Book Shoppe…….