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Wednesday
Mar202013

Hanging by a Fiber

Newspapers and magazines have predicted the death of print for years. With Newsweek enduring only in pixels and Saturday USPS deliveries on the butcher block, I re-living the last breaths of 35mm film again.

The end of print doesn’t bode well for me, as an editor and stationer. But I haven’t been doing much to save it. Google Reader is a constant companion—though not for much longer—as is my Kindle and iPhone. In looking at the realistic future of my business, I continually gut-check myself as to when I would reach for the physical over the digital. Five instances come immediately to mind:

Thank you note written and sketched by Aptly NotedSketch thank you note to my in-laws for sending homemade cookies.

  1. Thank you notes: Firing off an email of appreciation is sometimes all time allows, but a handwritten note carries with it sentimentality and literal weight. It takes the sender time to compose it. Much of life passes by undocumented. With that one note, the writer captures a moment of time in an expression of gratitude.
  2. Letters: Perusing archived and historical letters is a more intimate experience than robotically paging through one-line emails. Paper can be musky, yellowed, and deteriorating, but it’s a direct connection to someone years or centuries apart.
  3. Travel reads: Catching up on news on my iPhone is great until I disappear underground on the subway, fly 20,000 feet above the earth, head out to a remote destination, or even ride in a moving vehicle. Screens aren’t easy to ready when the reader or the screen is jostling up and down. Mobile is indisputably convenient, but a printed-pulp based product is reliable.
  4. Photographs: I have cradled my DSLR on 30-mile hikes and become its human shield in the rain. But I still don’t own a digital picture frame. The stark contrast of the LED or crystallized display against a room’s ambient light turns a nostalgic memory a miniature screensaver. I don’t print many photographs, but the ones that make it to paper are cherished.
  5. Textbooks: Though college is admittedly a distant memory, I still can’t imagine surviving classes without surrounding myself with sprawled-open textbooks, manually highlighting salient equations, and rifling through 500 pages in a last-ditched effort to absorb one more piece of information. 

As I try to convince myself why print will survive, more reasons to choose print over digital fill my mind. Yes, I understand that by blogging instead of journaling, I discredit my argument, but I have resolved to do better with my sketchbook this year. I’m only three months behind on my resolution.

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