Hardback books and vinyl records are enjoying a revival, but business cards won’t have a comeback — because we’ve never stopped loving them.

Last year was a great one for sales of hardback books, I was reading recently. After several years of decline, sales bounced back and more than 18 million hardbacks were sold in 2017. There is a similar trend in music, where despite the continued growth of streaming music, sales of vinyl records made up 14 percent of all physical albums sold in 2017.

It’s not a trend that surprises me. I love technology, but for some experiences, physical products beat digital ones because they allow us to form an emotional connection.

 

I would bet that those vinyl buyers listen to streaming music, but the records they really care about are the ones they want to add to their physical music collection. Likewise, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those hardback buyers reading a Kindle on the beach this summer; but when it comes to a book they love, they want to display a copy on the shelf. They want their friends to be able to take it down, flick through it and maybe even borrow it.

I understand that emotional connection because in the world of business cards it has never gone away. There have been numerous attempts to replace business cards with digital tools, from QR codes to “bumping” phones together. And yet 27 million business cards are printed daily.

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