Paper Manuals – Time to Say Goodbye?

In relation to a prior blog update (Steam vs Retail – Which is Best?), one of my friends (that’s you, Adam) made a comment that he likes to get a disc when he spends his money. I totally understand that some people like to walk out of the shop with something tangible.

This got me thinking about other contents of the boxes that not only contain games but things like manuals for how to operate televisions, air conditions and mobile phones amongst other things. How much paper is used to print all of these manuals that get chucked out, lost or stashed away with all the other device manuals and rarely see the light of day?

I’m guessing it would be quite a lot.

Surely, in this age where discs have ample capacity and access to the Internet we can do away with the paper and have a PDF version included on the disc or available somewhere online. I would quite happily file away PDF manuals on my centralised storage as it would reduce the paper clutter in my life and the amount of physical space that is taken up with paper in my house. I would rather store something that I might need “just in case” in digital format instead of in paper form, that’s for sure.

I even go as far as scanning the takeaway menus of our local restaurants to PDF documents. That way, if the missus and I feel like takeaway but want to stray from our tried and tested favourites we can grab the menus from our Windows Home Server over the Internet and make our decisions.

Of course, if people still wanted a hard copy manual they could print one out. It would be nice if the manufacturing companies would pass on the savings associated with eliminating paper manuals but I wouldn’t hold my breath. One can hope though.

Personally, I think it’s time for paper manuals to leave the Big Brother house. This age of connectivity, mass centralised storage and document format compatibility leaves little excuse against scaling back on the use of paper in most instances.

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