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A custom printed newspaper on-demand app

Image credit: NS Newsflash

Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic Mar 01, 2021
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Based on this tweet - an app where you save all the articles that you want to read later. Whatever you don't read by the end of the month is delivered to your home as a printed newspaper. Your to-read list then resets and starts fresh each month.

It would make sense to set a minimum/maximum threshold so that if there aren't enough articles in your current month they roll over into the next month. Likewise, if there are too many articles, you would get multiple volumes.

I realize that this is a half-baked idea with at least one major obstacle to overcome. Namely offering this as a paid service seems infeasible since the company would need to get (pay) for permission to print and resell the articles from an unlimited number of sources worldwide. But wouldn't it be amazing if this problem could somehow be solved?
Creative contributions

Great idea! But I suggest a plot twist.

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Mar 02, 2021
The idea is plausible. However, as a pro-environment thinker, I would still prefer the exact same approach in non-print forms. While more and more media outlets (the independent UK being one of the major ) are switching entirely to online forms, would it be environmentally responsible to actually to bring printing services as such into life?

One alternative that I would suggest is that instead of PRINTING out these contents in the paper form; how about bringing audible versions of the same? That way, we might be dealing with the problem from two faces. The problem we are aiming to solve, if I am not mistaken, is that since we are constrained by time limits (on a daily basis), we tend to have a long list of things that we would actually want to read but can't due to the lack of time at the moment. This creates an ever-increasing amount of contents that we are interested in but push it for the next day or the next week to read. However, even if we get the printed articles, there is no guarantee that we will have that sufficient amount of time in the future as well. This doesn't solve anything; just because we have Printed contents necessarily does not guarantee that we would read it in the future. For that, we'd need time and some kind of dedicated commitment.

Hence, if we could have a service that takes in requested contents (texts, articles), converts them into an audio format ( could be both manual or AI-assisted) , and delivers them in a tailored form to the respective customers, it would be great.

Why audio content? Because listening to an article takes much less time and energy (count in commitment into it) than it does to read the same thing. To read, we need to dedicate the entire time to the thing itself, and we barely can do anything else. However, if the articles are in audio forms, we can easily multitask while listening to them. This means that the fear of losing time will not haunt us and 'having no time to read' would not be a problem anymore. We could be listening to the articles we are interested in while jogging, cooking or cleaning the house.

Moreover, as users (consumers), receiving all the contents in audio format saves us from that guilt-trip of environmental conscience. On the other hand, for the company/ service-provider, there will be absolutely no space for any kind of backlash from the conservationists and pro-environment advocates which we cannot be so sure in case of the print option.

What do you guys think about this?

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce Mar 01, 2021
Often universities grant access for their students to multiple article sites. Maybe if the idea would be developed from a big university with many faculty would already be a good starting point, no?
They could test if the use of it internally is appreciated and eventually find a way to expand it nationally/globally, maybe with the help of government funding and with the hope of science going more in the open-source direction.
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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S3 years ago
What articles do you have in mind? Scientific, general (like blog articles, etc.), Wikipedia type articles? Or would it include all of this? The term article is very broad. Also, printed vs. digital is nicer, but at the same time it raises ecological concerns
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Darko Savic Great idea! One downside I see is the high printing cost since every paper will be unique to the user.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni so people better finish reading their to-read list before the printed copy is sent out:) Additional incentive to avoid the cost
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Darko Savic Yes, that can be a motivation. But realistically, almost none of us finish the to-read list. Hence, this session - https://brainstorming.com/how-do-you-manage-your-to-read-list/99. So, there is bound to be some amount of printed things you receive at the end of the month and the user will have to pay for it. What motivation does the user have to keep using the app and paying a large sum of money to cover printing every month? If the user could not complete the list in one month, how would they complete reading the print and also the next month's to-read list in a month? So, the backlog continues and the user keeps paying ultimately realizing that they are spending money unnecessarily.

Also, do we charge the user while subscribing or while printing? If we charge them while subscribing (starting of the month), we cannot ensure that the subscription amount will cover the printing cost. If we charge the user right before printing or during delivery, what if the user looks at the cost and decides that they want to quit?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni the user would be charged for the physical newspaper itself, so for the print. The idea behind a physical newspaper is that you enjoy it offline while not being distracted by electronics. You read it in a relaxing setting (toilet, bed, armchair) as part of your daily routine. The idea is to make the routine more valuable to you. Instead of wasting your time on offline media that someone else has composed for you, you spend it on media that you yourself have composed. Another important aspect is that you already don't have time to read this while you are online - your attention is under constant attack online. Offline your attention is yours to direct wherever you want it. You direct it at what's around - that's where the physical newspaper comes in.

Responsible use would be up to the individual. If people don't want things printed, they shouldn't leave them on the list on the last day of the month (they could get a "last chance to change your mind" notification). It would motivate people to take better care of their to-read lists and/or develop a better understanding of their time management and constraints.
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