As I was looking at our agency equipment expenses for 2009 and planning new purchases I suddenly realized that printing has all but ceased in our offices. We now have more scanners than printers. We print something every week, but we scan something almost every day. Print devices are better than ever: better color, faster speeds, higher resolution, but there’s little reason any more for us to print documents. We read author’s works on-screen, on the Sony Reader or on the iPhones. We review and negotiate contracts by email attachments. Looking forward, I see more scanners for us. They free up so much time to think and space to shelve those wonderful published books that make us all some money and provide a comfy read.
This year we acquired a small USB-scanner that looks like a fat foot-ruler. It will (slowly) scan a legal page but we use it primarily to scan those pesky lunch receipts, the financial record of an agent’s favorite sales activity. They fill up your wallet or purse, and have to be sorted, recorded and accounted for taxes and such. But now we don’t have to fight the paper clutter. One scan, a bit of OCR and the computer will tell me when I was where with whom. Cool. But even before we have pulled all the benefit from this small scanner, I can now take a picture of the receipt right in the restaurant with my iPhone and a new type of product that turns your mobile phone camera into a scanner will eliminate several steps.
Increasingly, what you see is all you need to keep.