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Nano Bits. When Nano Meets Print.

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If you will pardon the unintended pun, paper has been getting a lot of bad press over the last few years. You know the sort of thing I mean – “Please don’t print out this email – think of the environment.” and explanations by the activists of the amount of energy consumed in the production of each sheet of paper.

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I was chatting to my old mum (nearly 100 years old and still as sharp as a tack) the other day about her shopping habits. Of course she doesn’t do much of it now and is well looked after in a care home around the corner from us. But she has very strident views on the changes in the shopping experience over the years, and the decline in customer service as supermarkets replaced our high street shops in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

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I was rather shocked to read the news over my breakfast the other day that Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of the ubiquitous search engine, had invested in a company that essentially just produces books.

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I doubt many users of computers and tablets will have heard of Hermann Zapf, yet his legacy is to be found in all versions of Windows and Apple operating systems in the form of the typefaces which are used every day.

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UK grocery brands face a challenging environment according to a report issued by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD). This 105 year old organisation is a research and training charity for the consumer industry and claims to be a leading source of information for the consumer goods industry worldwide. The IGD report outlines changes they foresee in the distribution of grocery products in the five years to 2020.

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If it’s not a crisis in paper distribution, then paper prices are rising. If it’s not paper, then its plates or ink prices on the increase. Bad debts are harder to collect or credit terms are being revised downwards. There is a steady stream of notices about plant closures or businesses going bust in the trade journals and social media.

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I was on holiday recently, sitting outside a small pub on the West Coast of Ireland, sipping a pint of Guinness while my wife was looking around a clothes shop. I am not much of a clothes shopper, least of all with my wife, so the half hour with the newspaper was a blessed release.

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My wife’s preferred tipple is a gin and tonic but she is also partial to a pint of beer if we are out walking. However, she does not take too kindly to the barman offering it in a “lady’s glass”, since that is invariably half the normal measure.

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Landa S10 - Printing Press