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Why Paper Still Matters

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

After seeing a Kickstarter, a week or so ago, for a hybrid digital/analogue notebook, author Austin Kleon let loose a rant on Twitter, which I had to save and comment on:

"You guys know your notebooks are already searchable, right? It’s called turning the fucking pages."

Yes, paper forces non-linear review, which is how our brains learn.

"Last century we destroyed newspaper archives so we could 'save' them 'forever' on microfilm."

There's always a new "archival" medium that isn't all that archival. There is no digital archival format; not even the beloved text file.

"The beautiful thing about paper is that the medium is both for recording and playback. No extra gear needed."

Paper is a universal OS that never crashes.

"I'll take this over the cloud any day."

The benefits of holding your work in your hand is a pleasure digital workers are too often deprived of.

"R. Crumb bought his house in France with a trunk full of sketchbooks."

Analogue works are their own byproducts. After selling the work, you can sell the product, and the product is worth more because it's one-of-kind. There's no one-of-a-kind in digital.

"Maybe I should commit career suicide and dedicate my entire SXSW keynote to explaining why paper is a superb, interactive medium."

Consider how much more your senses interact with paper. This is a connection that's been proven to aid in reading comprehension at the very least.

But besides all that, life is short. Working with paper because it feels better or provides more enjoyment is reason enough for me.