Print Isn’t Dead

Say the guys who make the things that give you the print:

But all the gloom-and-doom predictions that newspapers will one day
disappear isn’t scaring workers at the Kaspar Sho-Rack Company, based
in Shiner, Texas. The company lays claim to being the world’s largest
manufacturer of coin-operated and no-charge newspaper vending machines.

Don Kaspar is president and a fourth-generation member of a family business that began in 1898 manufacturing wire products.

“There’ll be printed newspapers for years and years” said Kaspar,
president of a company that is actually part of the larger Kaspar
Wireworks. Still, he concedes, “Business is down about 25 to 30 percent
from about five years ago.”

It wasn’t until the late 1950s that
the privately owned company was approached by the now defunct San
Antonio Light newspaper to develop an early version of coin-operated
newspaper machines.

The early versions of newspaper machines were simple and made mostly of wire, but by the mid-1960s they were all made of metal.

The machines typically consist of a thick metal housing, shelves, doors
and hinges. But the heart of any machine is the coin mechanism, which
can have 150 moving parts, according to the manufacturer. Some advanced
models introduced in 1999 feature lithium batteries to run the
coin-collecting mechanism.

Often weighing around 100 pounds,
these hand-assembled machines cost on average $450 each, with
refurbished models selling for around $300, the company says.

The zenith of the company’s business may have been the 1980s, when the
introduction of USA Today landed it a contract to build and deliver
100,000 coin-operated machines. Today only 65,000 machines populate the
nation’s sidewalks, according to a USA Today spokesperson.

65,000 is still a lot. I like that you can basically hear the reporter asking these guys to go along with the OH GOD OH GOD WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE IPHONES CRAIGSLIST FUCK THE KIDS THEY DON’T READ storyline and the guys saying, “erm, calm down, son.”


8 thoughts on “Print Isn’t Dead

  1. As beer aficionados know, Shiner is also the home of the Spoetzl Brewery, source of the much-loved Shiner Bock, as well as other brews.
    /cliff klaven

  2. Anybody remember when microfilm / microfische was gonna take over print? If so, I have a cabinet full of microfilm that I don’t know what to do with .
    Or when TV was gonna kill radio?

  3. Dan, here’s the money line from that story:
    Ultimately, many in attendance will start charging for some online content because they don’t know what else to do.
    “Eh, let’s try this, see if the cat licks it up” is always an AWESOME business strategy.

  4. MapleStreet:
    or when they booed Dylan off the stage for going electric?

  5. Well, print may not be dead, or at least not completely dead, just mostly dead, and getting deader. After struggling through my Newsweek, post-redesign, for the past couple weeks, print seems determined to to kill itself, messily and with some typeface that makes Courier look elegant. I hope the newspaper box guys make hay while the sun shines, because it looks like the print media Big Boys have a death wish. Funny thing is, they think they’re swimming along just fine while actually sinking like stones. You’d think they’d notice all the bubbles going up while they’re going the other direction.

  6. I dunno where you live, Maple, but here in my town, tvhas killed radio. Radio’s corpse keeps on shambling along, but it desperately needs to be shot in the head. Of course, the local tv stations aren’t doing too well themselves, either, since they keep getting swallowed by larger and larger chains, and cable has pretty well supplanted broadcast for everything. (Ben Bagdikian’s most pessimistic predictions inThe Media Monopoly for the US are reality in Canada.)
    I might also mention that I might actually subscribe to The Toronto Star if they didn’tkeep calling me to get me to subscribe. I have a standing policy that I won’t patronise businesses that telemarket, so even as much as I love The Star, I am not going to give them my subscription dollars. I realise advertising to try to reach new subscribers is important, but annoying people during dinner is not the way to go about this!

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