The Revenge of Analog, Now at a Store Near You

roa“I just like the feel of a book in my hands!”

It’s undeniable; this is the line that comes up in almost any conversation about print books versus digital. And while we may pass it up as trite, it encapsulates the essence of a very human condition.

“While Silicon Valley might think those who try to stave off the inevitability of technological advances are behind the times, maybe they’re actually on to something,” writes Paul Taunton in National Post’s book review of “The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why they Matter” by David Sax.

Sax believes analog is having a comeback. “And he took me on a tour of some retailers on Toronto’s Queen Street West – a record and audio store, a bookstore, a watch store – to prove it,” Taunton writes.

Sax explained that the idea for the book began in 2007, as he noticed two things going on at the same time:

  1. A radical change in how he and his friends used technology to interact; and
  2. A reinvigorated interested in things non-digital.

“Everything else is only going to get more digitally connected, and that’s only going to make us hungrier for this analog stuff,” Sax notes, saying he believes the two are closely connected.

“Exclusivity, curation, boutique: these are all buzzwords of the analog resurgence, for better or for worse,” Taunton writes. “Down the street at Shinola, the Detroit-based manufacturer and retailer best known for bringing quality watch-making back to the United States after an absence of decades, expensive timepieces are sold alongside hand-tooled leather goods.”

Digital’s rise to ubiquity is, Sax notes, concordant with a return to artisanal, hand-crafted, analogy reality, which he documents in the book.

“I think that triumphalist Silicon Valley mindset believes that everything is this linear progression,” Sax observes. “That narrative is so strong that it’s hard to dispel – people just hear it, and are like, ‘Oh, aren’t all bookstores going away?’ But it’s so much more complicated and textured. People still sit in coffee shops, people still need somewhere to go on the weekend, people still need stuff to put on their shelves.”

Indeed, we all crave good stuff to put on our shelves; this book is a great addition.