Going RETRO in the DIGITAL AGE?

I recently read an article about how sales of books were up 20% year to date & vinyl sales have been increasing for years, but in 2021 they were at their highest level in three decades.
What was even more surprising- Since mid 2017, sales of disposable cameras from makers such as Fujifilm and Kodak have skyrocketed.
What’s driving the increase in these analog experiences. Sales of physical books, vinyl records & disposable cameras- all those things are on the rise. WHY? When a digital alternative is cheaper & more easily available?
Do Human Brains JUST LOVE analog components ?
I’m interested in reading your thoughts.

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Imho it’s all about appreciation. I recognized this with my kids. They scroll through Netflix, skip titles if they don’t like them and have access to zillions of movies at a fingertip. When I was a kid we went to the movie rental and the whole evening was a huge happening just for one movie. We celebrated it even if it was not so good.
People today feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of movies they can watch, pictures the can take, music they can listen to… the whole analog thing takes out the rush. You only have maybe 72 pictures of a holiday not 3642. you intentionally listen to one album and sit down, roll the lp out of the box, have a look into the booklet and appreciated the music instead of skipping every second title. This can be transferred to any analog medium in my eyes.

I hope it’s clear what I meant :joy:

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Tell me about it!! I have so many movies and TV shows on my “to-watch” list that I am outright stressed by it at times. I feel like every time I get through one, there are five more I want to see… some choice is good, but too much choice is daunting!!

When I first got my Nook e-reader, I had found the concept of e-books intriguing for some time. I could buy a book from the comfort of my bed and read it immediately, not to mention that I could carry my entire library with me!! But as time went on, the novelty wore off and I realized that I missed the feeling of a physical book. I was also less able to recall information from the e-reader than that from a book, which is important when reading for school. Textbooks can be heavy, but I have still come to appreciate them!

I noted in another post that I recently purchased a film camera because of the nostalgia factor. However, as with books, there is nothing like holding a physical photograph; something about it feels more precious. Of course, film processors can still provide you with scans of the photos for looking at on the computer, but I’ve found that I’m much more likely to look back at pictures when I can physically interact with them (as opposed to them getting lost in an endless camera roll).

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I can’t agree enough with @joeheb 's summary. I grew up in the era where CD was king (but started being phased-out by downloads). All throughout, I was considered a weirdo because I was only interested in records. There’s something about holding a physical copy, looking at the artwork, reading the sleeve notes, that adds to the enjoyment and experience - and with LPs this is heightened. Watching that black disk spinning is mesmerising and somehow compels you to concentrate even more on the music.

Playing an LP is an experience. Going to Blockbusters to choose a film for the evening, and bringing home that VHS tape, was an event. Isn’t it very telling that people nowadays mindlessly scroll through thousands of hours’ worth of titles on multiple channels/services, whilst grumbling that “there’s absolutely nothing to watch”!

I think maintaining your own collection also enhances your experience by forcing you to prioritise quality over quantity. I could subscribe to a streaming service and have lots of music at the tips of my fingers, but a lot of it will be low quality or not entirely to my taste. Going out and spending money on an LP is an effort that you naturally reserve for a recording you really value and cherish. If it is a new pressing, it also means that the artist earns more of your money for that recording than from a mindless download.

I also believe that LPs and tapes made skipping tracks a little more difficult. Sure, it’s possible, but often the effort required was more than it was worth to skip one track you’re not that bothered about. So it forced you to appreciate an album as the artist intended it to be heard, and it forced to you appreciate and at least give a chance, to those songs that you’d just mindlessly skip on a streaming-service. Sometimes this would cause a track to “grow” on you and expand your musical horizon. Or it would put the rest of the album into perspective and increase enjoyment of the other tracks.

Having a known limit on something (your music, or the number of photos you can take) also removes a source of stress. As an autistic person, I find it extremely stressful and overwhelming when presented with a cacophony of options and things screaming for my attention, or an endless list of downloads (or photos I mindlessly took) that’s just too much for my mind to process in one go. I suspect more neuro-typical people also experience this stress, but are less aware of it. Flicking through your record/CD collection, or going through an envelope of 36 photos from your holiday is a lot easier and more pleasant.

Tangible things are also a lot more pleasing and memorable. You actually have something you can hold, for your money, instead of having nothing to show for it. This issue is further highlighted when you consider that all “your” content that you “paid for” and “own” on a digital service is not yours, and can be taken away at any time. I had a friend who lost an entire library of e-books when Microsoft closed their book store. No refund, no compensation, no removal of DRM to allow continued reading. Just gone. On a similar note, a screw-up at Amazon a few years ago somewhat-ironically erased George Orwell’s “1984” from every Kindle it had been “bought” on. I’m guessing it was restored afterwards, but it still highlights a big problem with mindless media consumption. Removal of my copy of 1984, which is physical, is less likely due to the risk of conviction for breaking-and-entering, and theft.

While not strictly-speaking “analog”, there’s another related issue… I actually find it sad that kids born just 10 years after me will never be able to reminisce with the videogames of their childhood, as the services that provide them will probably either no longer exist or no longer supply said games (or the servers that the games connect to for various functions will no-longer exist). In contrast, Lemmings for the PC and even Bruce Lee for the Sinclair Spectrum are still playable today, on both original hardware and emulators.

Anyway, this I’m sure has turned into a massive wall of text. If you have got this far, I applaud you and thank you for reading!

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I am a physical book fan. I’ve never had an eReader. It just never appealed to me. I love the crinkle of the page & the smell of the paper.

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It’s just easy in some ways. Cassettes, for example, remember where you stopped listening. You can swap them between devices and retain your place. You can drop them, and they will likely be fine.

A lot of digital tech tries to mimic similar convenience and simplicity…But I’ve never had much luck with getting “seamless and efficient” media to work. Maybe it’s because I just cut my teeth on analog tech and, in my bad habits, hammer too hard at the digital stuff until its edges fray and I hit failure.

Updates, syncing, data transfer rates, proprietary software, subscriptions… it’s a bummer.

Besides: how many times I listen to an album is my business, and shouldn’t be used to generate MORE business. Slick features often come at the price of privacy, and it’s getting old.

All that said, props to eBooks for making libraries more accessible.

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Choice fatigue is real. The multitude of digital options can certainly be exhausting and in my opinion cheapens whatever experience it is connected with. We don’t value what we have an abundance of with no effort. Intention, effort and care is how humans express value.

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