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Opinion
Tara Lachapelle

If 2020 Weren’t Strange Enough, Printers Are Staging a Comeback

Whether it’s for legitimate business documents or an Amazon return shipping label, the Covid crisis is making home printers useful again.

The humble home printer is a must-have again.

The humble home printer is a must-have again.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Covid-19 pandemic is creating a deeper appreciation for things such as one’s health, getting together with friends, the great outdoors — and printers. Yes, home printers, those clunky deskside contraptions of a bygone era, are suddenly making a comeback, and it may outlast this crisis.

As a recent Deloitte report put it, when the virus hit, hundreds of millions of people “brought their laptops home in a bag … but left their printers behind!” And oh, how we’ve missed them — not for the whir of the machine grabbing a sheet, nor the whoosh of the paper hitting its landing (though plenty of ASMR printer recordings do exist). Rather, it’s because we still print a lot more than we probably realized. One example: During regional Covid-19 lockdowns, consumers turned to online shopping, and that brought with it the inconvenience of needing to make returns and print shipping labels. That’s something office workers may have tended to do — shh! for I must whisper this part — at the office.