I have to admit it: The future of scrapbooking seems to be limited.
Yep, I said that out loud. In public. For the world to see.
Today, Becky Higgins and Cathy Zielske posted on Facebook a link to a Studio 5 production called “Is Scrapbooking Dead?” that will air tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 14. My gut reaction, as sad as it makes me, is, “Yeah, I think it’s close.”
Somehow, I don’t think Becky, in particular, would agree. (And frankly, I hope I’m wrong.)
You see, Becky Higgins pioneered a new way of memory keeping for one-time scrapbookers who were faced with the challenge of having little time to scrap. It’s called Project Life. It sounds great in theory, and honestly, the product is beautiful.
But here’s the problem.
Project Life requires very little product – and all of the product is available from one source: Becky herself. Becky’s popularity within the scrapbooking industry is admirable. There’s hardly a scrapbooker out there – at least anyone who has been scrapping since Becky’s days at Creating Keepsakes magazine – who doesn’t know Becky’s name.
Basically, the important part about that statement is that there is very little need for Becky to pay for advertising, because other scrapbookers the world over are promoting her site on their own blogs and in their publications.
But advertising is what drives this creativity-inspired industry.
Project Life’s simplistic view of scrapbooking – and the resulting lesser need for the stickers, specialty papers, fibers, stamps, die cuts, die-cut machines, adhesives, albums, page protectors, buttons, beads, embossing inks, border punches, standard punches, idea books and other must-haves paper scrapbookers have used for years – could very well be contributing to the problem of a dying artistic scrapbooking industry.
Without demand for products, product manufacturers’ businesses will fail. When the scrapbooking product lines can’t survive, neither can the advertising-driven magazines. When the magazines started dying a few years ago (Simple Scrapbooks, Digital Scrapbooking Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens’ Scrapbooks Etc.), I’m afraid, so did people’s (mine included) regular, predictable, delivered-to-your-door, don’t-have-to-hunt-for-it-online stream of inspiration. When inspiration dies, so does the industry.
I was once a twice-weekly scrapper, but I haven’t scrapbooked in months. I have completed fewer layouts this entire year than I would have done in a month or less a year or two ago. It’s not for a lack of time. I have more free time, likely, than I did a couple of years ago. And it’s not for a lack of interest in the art form. I absolutely love creating layouts that capture stories, photos and memories. LOVE IT. But I don’t have that hard-copy inspiration source in my hand every night as I fall asleep. I used to subscribe to four scrapbook magazines. Only one survives. I have to supplement that with other reading materials (other magazines and novels) to make it through the month or two before my next scrapbook magazine arrives, which means that during a large chunk of the month, I ‘m not getting my daily dose of scrappin’ inspiration. And while it’s true that there are plenty of inspiration sources online – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – I find that I rarely take the time to sit in front of a screen simply to find inspiration. It’s just not the same as shutting down mentally and flipping through a magazine as I relax before falling asleep at night. It’s just not the same.
Before I go, I do want to acknowledge that digital scrapbooking also uses fewer products than traditional ones – but there are still many designers and many products being produced on a daily basis. I am hopeful that someone out there will find a way to create a business model that will thrive on inexpensive advertisements from digital designers, who are making very little income on their designs (largely because so many designers offer so many freebies, that many digital scrapbookers do not pay for the design elements they use…another problem to tackle on a different day). In the meantime, I’m hopeful that each of you reading this will make a trip to your local scrapbook store or digital design shoppe and buy something to support this industry we all love…and then share with me what you feel about the future of the scrapbooking industry.
What do you think? Is scrapbooking dead?