Technology Challenges Scrapbooking Industry

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

The demise of a national scrapbooking chain is a symbol of how technology has changed the way people document their lives.

The Minnetonka-based Archivers chain is bankrupt. Its 33 stores in 18 states will close after Feb. 15.

Scrapbooking peaked in the early 2000s. It was an era when digital cameras were still new, before smartphones came on the scene,  before people used tablets to show off photos from their trips.

Archivers president Brian Olmstead acknowledged that there were new ways to display pictures that require less work.

“I’m the first to admit it: I’ve used Shutterfly,” Olmstead told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “After we went on a family cruise, I collected all of our photos, organized them digitally and made an online book. It was so easy, and I could order copies of the book as gifts.”

Another Minnesota-based scrapbooking giant, Creative Memories, has emerged from bankruptcy and is reinventing itself with “inawink,” a photo app, debuting soon, that automatically downloads a person’s favorite photos off a device. The company then prints them and sends them back.

“Our business, like Archiver’s, got smaller and smaller and smaller,” said founder Rhonda Anderson. “Every time we had a focus group, we found out that people still wanted to do something with their pictures, but they didn’t have time for scrapbooking the craft.”

Scrapbooking, card making and paper crafting still made up the biggest segment of crafters — 10 percent, or 23 million people — surveyed in 2012 by the Craft & Hobby Association.

Utah-based Simple Stories is a leader of the latest trend in scrapbooking: pocket pages. Its idea of “snapbooking” is easy: journaling on precut cardstock in a variety of designs, then simply adding the photos to the pocket pages.

Angela Boone, a portrait photographer from Stillwater, was lured by the simplicity.

“I’m not an arts-and-crafts person, so scrapbooking was intimidating to me,” Boone said. “But when I saw the pocket-based system and how easy it was, how much it was just like a simple photo album, I thought, ‘I can totally do that.'”