A new service is offering people the opportunity to print a selection of their own online articles into a personally curated newspaper, as an alternative to mobile, desktop and tablet reading.
PaperLater, a new service built by innovative printing and newspaper company The Newspaper Club, operates in a similar way to apps like Instapaper or Pocket – where users can send longform articles, and pieces that are not time-sensitive, to collate for later reading – however it prints those articles into a newspaper and delivers it to the consumer.
Co-founder and head of engineering for The Newspaper Club, Tom Taylor, said that the company views print as a viable medium and one that can still be thought about and used for innovative approaches to publishing.
“We think of print as just another media technology – it just happens to be one that’s highly evolved, with a few hundred years of development,” he said
“For lots of situations, it’s the right tool for the job, and print will keep evolving alongside other technologies and finding its niche.”
Currently PaperLater has print restrictions, with physical constraints of an 8 page minimum, 24 page maximum publication size, to ensure that it can keep newspapers under 100 grams for the fastest postage. The process is completely automated, so PaperLater’s staff do not design or select any content, they simply manage the software and the printing process.
The papers, which take 3 to 5 days to be delivered once the full edition has been requested, allow readers to, say, collect their favourite online articles on the World Cup, or on a federal election, and have those articles produced into a personally built paper.
A worthy concern is the issue of republishing other publisher’s content for a cost that those publishers don’t see, though Mr Taylor says that this is an issue The Newspaper Club is familiar with and have made sure to address.
“[We’ve]been supporting independent publishing for the last 5 years, so we’re very aware of the issues around this,” he said.
“We’ve made sure that PaperLater can only be used for a personal copy of content you can already see on your screen, and can’t be used to mass distribute other people’s content.”
Mr Taylor said the company has been having conversations with some of the major newspaper groups in the United Kingdom, and that there is belief in the market that personalised newspapers will have a significant role in the future.
Reader curation and personalised news are prominent features of web journalism and changing attitudes to how news is constructed brought about by social media and greater online participation in news media. PaperLater see this kind of technology as an opportunity to bring those attitudes to print; “PaperLater will make those things possible, we’re exploring that with [the publishers],” Mr Taylor said.
Most of the papers PaperLater have been producing come in at around 20 to 40 thousand words, and are currently available only to people in the United Kingdom. Once it is running smoothly in locally, the company will consider plans to scale up the product and build partnerships in other regions where they might be able to put it market.
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