The Value of Paper

May 12, 2013

  By Mark Pitts
  Executive Director, Printing-Writing

  Paper embodies a unique set of values that no other
  communications medium can match:  a fact often lost amidst the
  constant barrage of emails and digital messages that come across
  our computers and mobile devices.

Paper is such a part of our lives, the unique collection of benefits is worthy of a reminder to us all. 

Did you know that students commonly employ five different reading strategies, and frequently switch between them while engaging in academic texts?  Among the five strategies, paper is superior to electronic texts in supporting these strategies.

Did you also know reading on a digital screen is fundamentally different than reading on paper, often resulting in less comprehension and recall than reading written text?

Now try completing this sentence:    _______ is made from renewable raw materials; is manufactured primarily using renewable energy; and is 100% recyclable.  Paper is the one product that can make such a strong sustainability statement.

AF&PA and the Printing-Writing Sector compiled a summary of studies, reports and scholarly articles into an easy to read Literature Review, which highlight the great value proposition that paper-based communication offer our everyday experiences. The research contained in the Review provides references and citations to value statements about paper from five different perspectives:

• Paper as a Learning Tool
• Paper as an Effective Medium for Reaching Customers
• Paper as a Permanent Record for Milestones in Life
• Paper as a Secure Form of Documentation and Communication
• Paper as a Sustainable Choice

In an era where advertisers are pouring resources into internet marketing plans, paper continues to be a very effective medium for reaching customers. In a recent study of 350 marketers, direct mail advertising was identified as delivering the strongest ROI for customer contact and retention for B2C customers. And the most recent “DMA 2013 Statistical Fact Book” reveals that consumer’s use of coupons has gone up in 2012 to 79.8 percent.

Paper provides easily accessible, secure, and permanent documentation of important records that do not require constant monitoring. Electronic document access and storage are less secure, as nearly two-thirds of all Americans and three-quarters of Millennials have fallen victim to some sort of cyber crime.

Paper is so embedded in our culture that we often take its value for granted. To further explore the examples mentioned above, and to discover many more proof points that document the value of paper, I invite you to download a copy of the AF&PA Literature Review from AF&PA’s Printing and Writing Page.