The Future of Paper Planners

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We read a pretty interesting blog post by our friend, Laurie,  over at Plannerisms on September 28, 2012.   It was entitled “The Future of Paper Planners.” Obviously, that is a subject in which we have a keen interest!   You can read the post here.

Staples, Office Max and Office Depot are planning to close some stores, downsize others, and move to more online sales. What do you think this bodes for paper planners?   Not just purchasing, but also being able to pick up the product, examine it, feel the cover and paper, etc..

Moleskine is floating the idea of an IPO in early November.   Is this an indication that their majority owner, Syntegra Capital, thinks Moleskine products, including a line of planners, are about ready to top out, and they want to cash out before demand declines?

What do you think–do paper planners have a future?   Are online sales the only option–or will little oases of independent bookstores and office supply businesses continue to stock them?






10 thoughts on “The Future of Paper Planners

  1. I’m not much of a planner user, but I AM a huge paper, notebook, book, and magazine user. The online catalogue for our library is the greatest thing ever, as I can browse all i want in the comfort of my home, order the books I want, and the library calls me when it’s time to go pick them up. Real books. Not ebooks or on a tablet or a kindle. Real books I can pick up, feel the paper, smell the paper, turn the pages instead of clicking something. Best of two worlds: Technology and real paper goods.

    I couldn’t stand it if paper goods were done away with, and I hate that so many stores that handle paper goods are having to close. The only good that I can see coming from that is the fact that probably a lot of trees will be saved.

    Yeah, I love paper…notebooks…magazines…oh, don’t forget the newspaper!!

  2. Karen, hi.

    Moleskine has been growing at 25% per year in the last five years. Their business is *not* based solely on paper planners, as we all know, but on a diversified product range, made available *globally*, through online channels, and retail.

    Stationery customers have diversified needs, and companies that meet those needs, globally, are doing well.
    Those who have narrow product lines, poor quality, wrong pricing, and limited, narrow distribution and sales channels will go down, I am afraid. Or, if lucky, will be taken over.

  3. Thanks so much for linking my post! Of course I hope paper planners have a very long future. But you have a very good point: as more bookstores go out of business, and those still in business have smaller selections, will paper planners be available almost exclusively for online purchase only?

    I really hope not. A big part of the experience of using a paper planner is the tactile aspect: the smoothness of the paper, the feeling of the book in your hands. You can’t replicate that online.

  4. It’s such a shame, really. Although a babyboomer, I am not opposed to change, technology, advancement, etc. But there are two areas that I put my foot down, but to no avail it seems. When it comes to books (libraries, book stores, actual magazines that you can dog ear and tear sheets, and books that I can hold) and paper (planners, diaries, etc.). Just because we have the technology, does that have to mean the demise of everything else? I guess I just don’t get it…masses of people all embracing the new and just flicking away the old until one day I fear to see the closing of more libraries and the loss of any type of paper calendar or planner. Does that mean Bibles will go by the wayside as well and you’ll have to bring your tablet to church?! I have my smart phone, tablet, lap top and whatever technology deemed necessary these days but please don’t take my books, magazines and paper calendars away. As for the big box office stores and Franklin Covey type stores; yes they are on the decline. To be honest, I don’t even know how Office Depot and Office Max stay open. I go in at least once a week or once every two weeks and they are dead. We’ve lost 2 Franklin Covey stores in the past 5-6 years and I can’t imagine the one remaining store staying open for too much longer. I completely understand these businesses cannot make it with no customers. But even though I do alot of online shopping, I DO like to look at and feel things in person before purchasing! And I think of my folks who are in their 70’s…they do not even own a computer! They can’t even get a movie on DVD anymore because all the video stores have closed. They don’t purchase goods online. My mom is having the worse time decorating her house because the choices in the stores are terrible and she is not an online shopper so she gets very frustrated at the limited choices in the stores. I realize everything is made for and marketing to THE YOUNG, but there are still millions of folks in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s who aren’t dead yet but also have not gone tech! It seems we live in an ‘all or nothing’ world anymore…

  5. I have a feeling that we are going to see paper products turn into cottage industries and be let go by the big box stores except via online. You’ll find handmade journals at your local craft market, but not in staples. It makes sense. There is much less overhead in an online store and most people are used to shopping online now. They will go where the majority of the customers are now.

  6. I am fortunate enough to still have a Franklin Covey store in my city. We used to have two but they closed the second one 5 or 6 years ago. I LOVE being able to go in and look at everything and then make my decision. But I won’t be surprised if the store closes eventually. It’s just so much cheaper to sell on-line.

    I do think there will be fewer and fewer options which kind of makes me want to just make my own. Then I don’t have to worry about it.

  7. Broders in Adelaide had a fair stock and at one time David Jones also had a good selection. I live outside of the metropolitan district and for us there is nothing. Oh yes we get the odd bit here and there but if we use Filofax or prefer paper planners to smartphones, it’s an 800 klm round trip, or buy on line.

  8. I’m not sure what I think. I honestly believe that if more “old school” traditions are to be saved, it’s up to my generation to get the younger generation involved. I’m doing my best to make drooling notebook zombies out of my niece and nephew,lol. When they’re old enough for planners, I’ll do my best to give them a nice paper one.

  9. Michael, I tend to agree. The closing of Borders in my town forced me to go exclusively online when purchasing Exaclair products. I don’t use Moleskines often, but even these have become difficult to locate.

  10. My guess is that the end of Borders has meant a significant decline in the availability of paper planners (Gallery Leather and Moleskine). I think that paper will long be available in large cities. Elsewhere, I think sales will be online.

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