The Atlantic

There’s No Substitute for Print

Some joys can’t be digitized.
Source: M. Dykstra / Shutterstock / The Atlantic

Sometime this winter, I performed an experiment: I decided to subscribe to home delivery of a daily newspaper. I am so pleased by the success of this experiment that I can no longer remember why I undertook it, although through my daze of self-satisfaction I am pretty sure that money was involved. A promotional offer probably arrived in the mail—the postal mail, I mean—that was as insanely cheap as I am. Succumbing to a printed come-on delivered by a flesh-and-blood letter carrier to subscribe to a real newspaper-on-newsprint gave my experiment the feel of something reactionary and backward-looking—another reason I was eager to undertake it. I even paid by check.

As recently as 15 years ago, before the internet completed its

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