Dead Tree Edition

What Does Dead Tree Edition Mean?

Dead tree edition is a slang term used to describe any publication that comes in printed form, even when there is a paperless edition available. Books, newspapers and magazines are all dead tree editions because their production requires the use of paper products. The term is an intentionally harsh phrase that aims to present hard-copy materials as being unfriendly for the environment.


A dead tree edition is also known as a hard copy, dead tree ware or a dead tree format.

Techopedia Explains Dead Tree Edition

With the continuing innovation and evolution of the Internet, digital media has started to take the place of printed files and documents. A good example of this is the Encyclopedia Britannica, which published its last printed edition in 2010 but continues to exist online.

The flip side is that there is a huge environmental impact to being digital. Huge amounts of electricity are used to keep data centers humming, often in an inefficient manner. In addition, while paper degrades over time, electronic devices use large amounts of dangerous metals and end up in the landfill just like any non-digital product.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.