August 20, 2019 | 81° F

EDITORIAL: Future of printing may come up blank

Downtown Printing Center’s 40 years of success might be rarity


Nowadays, everything can be done online — you can pay your bills, find a date or watch your favorite television shows. And with the rapid expansion of the Internet, it seems as though everything will be shifting to online-only platforms. One local business in New Brunswick is challenging the odds. But, is the business’s success something that will be long-term?

The Downtown Printing Center has been alive and thriving since 1977. Juan E. Ruiz, president of the center, credits the 40 years of success to his great passion for printing and graphics. The community business offers its customers cheap and timely services and focuses mainly on off-set and digital printing. Customers can set orders for almost anything ranging from stationaries to brochures. But even with all of the services that the Downtown Printing Center offers, its future might still look murky.

If it were not for the business’s loyal, regular customers, it is possible that it would not have been celebrating its 40th anniversary, and this has nothing to do with the quality of the business.

The reality of the situation is that the digital age is pushing out print publishing. The conveniences of online memos and letters seem to outweigh the process of physically printing materials, at least in the minds of consumers. And the concerns of Ruiz are something to consider, especially as our generation is the one that witnessed the shift from the physical to the digital world.

How often have you heard that print is a dying medium? Because of the domination of the digital world, conversion to online-only versions of media is inevitable. But does this inevitable adaption equate to an eventual erasure of physically printed versions of media? Newspapers have shown that even having both available mediums does not deter from the fact that physical papers are struggling. Between the years of 2000 and 2015, the ad revenue accumulated from print newspapers dropped from $60 billion to a mere $20 billion. Even publications as large and widespread as The New York Times reported dips in their ad revenue by almost 20 percent. And newspapers are not the only print media that are reporting losses. Barnes and Noble took a hit too, due to Amazon’s release of e-readers such as the NOOK. It just seems as though when presented with the option to either look at a physical copy of something or see it in a digital version on their phones or tablets, they learn toward looking at something with a screen.

Some may say that in terms of the Downtown Printing Center, print will always be in fashion as brochures, stationaries and flyers. But, this is not necessarily the case. The digital world has the capabilities of creating a website for advertising information that would otherwise be on these brochures and flyers. And email and messaging have almost erased the need for stationaries.

Despite what seems to be an inevitable decline, it is important to keep some aspects of print alive. Aside for the reason of providing patronage for local businesses, sometimes having things in a physically printed version is better. Staring at screens for everything in your life is not healthy for your vision, and sometimes, the sentimentality behind something in print is enough to convince someone of preferring that version. Plus, despite its availability online, if all newspapers were to eventually fade away into the digital world, how would you get to pick up the next copy of The Daily Targum?

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