The recent decline in print volume across the globe has had the doom-Sayers out in force again telling tales of the paperless office and of the E-Book readers. In fact, during the 1980’s those same doom-Sayers were predicting that by the year 2000 paper would virtually disappear from the office and be replaced by the battery powered soulless digital devices with the hard screen.

Not so it seems: Print is still alive and kicking. Sure the recession has set us back and we are becoming more acclimatised to the ‘Green approach’, but print is alive and well in 2010. Those of us with PDAs and iPhones are all acutely aware of what benefits they give us but there is still nothing like having that document in hand, thumbing through it and having it in hand without plugging it in or charging it up.

But what about the future… Does print still have a place in our world?

For me, I have to believe that it does—That it will change, but still be here. But the change for the printed document also means that there is a change for the printer, and as we all know printers are not always the most adaptable or most willing to accept change.

For me change means printers need to redefine their place in the document lifecycle chain. That perhaps the printing of a document is not the last act but another link in the chain. Sure technology is catching us up—recyclable paper and eraseable paper all change the scope of printing beyond what we traditionally understand.

The question I have is: Are printers prepared and willing to accept this change and face it head on? The technology vendors out there hold this question close to their hearts and R&D budgets, and printers should sit up and pay attention!