Remember the Printed Blog? It was a newspaper – on actual glossy paper – that would syndicate posts from the Interwebs. Josh Karp founded it six months ago and he ran through 16 issues and 80,000 copies – all on his own dime. And now it’s dead.
The paper was published and distributed in Chicago and raised quite a bit of slightly laudatory prose from folks like the NYT and BusinessWeek. As far as I know we appeared in the magazine/paper once or twice, which was nice to know.
Why did the Printed Blog die? Well, Karp wasn’t able to get funding and the idea was, in a word, ludicrous – it was akin to pressing MP3 podcasts onto vinyl for those who still used a Technics turntable. The goal was noble – to introduce a non-online audience (Who? The old? Terminal Luddites?) to great online content – but this may have been swell back in 2004 when blogs were still fresh on the mass cerebellum. With the rise of the mobile web it’s easier than ever to surf over to a few great sites on your cellphone, thereby supplanting the need for a piece of paper with those selfsame blog posts printed on it.
The former print journalist in me still craves what TPB was doing and as a blogger I looked wistfully at the Printed Blog, wondering if it would survive and thrive. Todays blog post is tomorrow’s, well, nothing but at least you could have used a printed blog post to line your birdcage. It gave permanence to an evanescent medium, which was great. Sadly, the money was also evanescent.