I stopped at Hallmark the other night to buy birthday cards, and I did something that fewer and fewer of us in the digital age do: I bought an address book. (No, I don't have a BlackBerry.) My new address book has a cushy cover with a stitched floral design, which looks cute and feels great in my hands.
I also couldn't pass up a couple of boxes of thank-you cards. One design shows a typewriter whose paper simply reads "thank you." I think it's interesting that even today, as most of us have traded in typewriters for computers, the image of a typewriter still captures the idea of "writing" or "writer." Is it because we use our computers for so many other things—visiting Web sites, shopping, downloading photos, etc.?
Am I against BlackBerrys and e-books and e-mail? No. But I do enjoy sending and receiving cards via snail mail. I like holding a book in my hands, flipping through the pages, seeing how much I've already read and how much more I have to go until I reach the end. And I appreciate good design, whether it's for a greeting card, book cover or address book. Plus, I don't have to worry about my paper goods crashing.
On the other hand, I love that today we have the option of customizing our cards and books (self-publishing a book means you can really customize!). I remember when greeting-card companies came out with software to help you create your own cards to print at home and when card stores first offered customizable cards that you could print right in the store. (If you'd like to take one of your card designs a step further and get it sold in a store, you should check out Hallmark's latest card contest. You can send your birthday card ideas Jan. 11-25.)
I have a feeling that even with all of the cool e-books coming out, paper books will be around for a while—kind of like the long-lasting image of a typewriter. Let's hope paper books won't become merely a representation of reading, though!
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