A bundle of newspapers stacked up high.

Will Digitized Print Replace Traditional Print?

Change can be daunting. Whether it is something as silly as a new haircut or something more drastic like moving to a different city. Although change can be uncomfortable, it is inevitable. As it pertains to this course, the writing community is quite familiar with change. We are currently in the late age of print. Writers still use print, however print has transcended to electronic formats such as word processors. Personally, I grew up in the 2000’s and 2010’s, an era where educators were transitioning from traditional print to digitized print. This sort of change is nothing new. For example, the switch from telegraph to email. Most people, including myself, could never imagine sending someone a telegraph. So, can we imagine a world without traditional print?


First, we must learn the term “remediation.” J.D. Applen explores remediation in his book Writing for the Web: Composing, Coding, and Constructing Web Sites. To quote Applen, “Remediation describes the shift to a newer form of media that takes some of the characteristics of a previous form, but then refashions it.” (Applen 13). The transition from telegraph to email is considered remediation. When telegraphs came into the picture, they were an instant way to send messages, no matter the distance. When emails came into the picture, they were an instant way to send messages, no matter the distance. Emails are simply a refashioned version of a telegraph. They both perform the same task, one is just more advanced and modern.

Print on Paper Print on Screens

When print transcended onto our digital screens, this was considered remediation. However, unlike telegraphs and emails, both traditional and digitized print coexist. Telegraphs are practically obsolete in today’s world. Yet, with the creation of digitized print, traditional print is still essential.

Both forms of print bring unique advantages and disadvantage to the table. For example, digitized print is easily accessible. This is important when conducting research. We have access to a plethora of information at the click of a button. Not to mention, new technology allows us to archive historical documents, literature, etc. That being said, Applen notes that, “When one relies on retrieving information from a screen as opposed to going to a library, our sense of ‘historical perspective’ is flattened (Birkerts 129).” (Applen 20). The way libraries are set up allows visitors to experience many eras of history first hand. The countless stacks of books and documents represent just how vast human history is. I would say that traditional print brings a sort of humanness to print.

There are countless other examples of the pros and cons of both traditional and digitized print. Nevertheless, the examples listed above prove that traditional print is not going anywhere, any time soon. Going into this article, I was worried that I would be faced with the possibility of traditional print making it’s way out the door. However, I found comfort in learning that traditional print is not going out of fashion. I hope you found comfort in this finding as well.


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