Media Death, Part 297: Kodak

I’ve written before how the death of the book is connected with the death of a range of other analogue technologies. Nostalgia for the cinema projector and celluloid is as intense as anything by Sven Birkerts.

The latest in a long line of dead products is now a major corporation: Eastman Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy. As observers have pointed out, they got squeezed by being a materials company, not an information company. Unlike publishers of books, who could theoretically transform themselves into publishers of “information” via any format, Kodak made film (and the chemical process to develop it). It was such a popular medium it made them a huge company for over a century. And it’s death has been so swift they couldn’t adapt. Or maybe a film company can’t become something else if film ceases to exist. It’s a lot like the joke in The Office of working for a paper company in a paperless office environment.

Only paper hasn’t gone anywhere. The paradoxes of the new economy are endless…