My two cents: Is scrapbooking dead?

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.

Project Life Amber Edition

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?

Published by Corie Farnsley

I am a freelance designer, writer and photographer with a passion for telling stories, especially those that are close to my heart. I love to document those stories in a tangible way — by making albums that will leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren.

3 thoughts on “My two cents: Is scrapbooking dead?

  1. Very good points, Joni! I am really hopeful that the industry will be able to survive in as much as we will still have a constant stream of hard-copy inspiration sources like magazines and idea books. I am one who struggles to stay inspired if I don’t have new material to peruse, so even though I am passionate about telling stories and capturing my family’s everyday life on camera, I am struggling to feel inspired enough to sit down and create on a regular basis. I would have to agree, though, that even the magazine that remains is getting a bit dull in content. I really just enjoy seeing the layouts and would rather peek at 100 layouts with zero editorial content than weed through recycled editorial content or silly how-tos that are obviously a writer’s stretch to fill space. 🙂

  2. I am a long time scrapper. I have felt the craft slowly dying for some time now, but all trends do. I let my magazine subscriptions expire due to lack of inspiration they were suppling. I felt nothing new was being presented, just repeating and that it was growing stagnat. However, I am still passionately in love with the craft! I relish the time I spend preserving priceless memories no matter how insignificant they may seem. I love the textures and colors of paper. I love how I can manipulate it with my ideas using my hands. I love being able to hold up a final product with depth and richness only a hand crafted piece can offer. For me it is about the process. It’s a creative outlet that consumes and transports me, almost therapuetic. I plan to scrap for many more years, afterall, I was doing it long before I knew what it was called. As product becomes less available, I will just have to become more creative. Trends cycle. So I will patiently wait through the lull and anticipate it’s return, even if that means I’m the 60 year old sitting among the thirty somethings at the next crop 🙂

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