The end of the postcard?

By | Category: Travel news


Will postcards be dying out?

This coming December, the BBC is reporting that a family run company called J Salmon Ltd will close. Nothing really special about that; companies shut up shop every day. But this company is a 137 year old publisher of postcards, those must-send holiday items of only a generation ago.

The company, which is that it is Britain’s oldest established publisher is quoted as saying that people aren’t sending postcards any more or, if they are, they are sending far fewer than their parents or grandparents did when they went on holiday.

As a child and even newly-married I remember having to – what I then thought –  waste time in newagents and souvenir shops selecting twenty or thirty postcards that were then laboriously written out and posted to aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and all and sundry so that they could be told that we were having a “good time” and that we wished that they were here. Actually, I could have cared whether they were with us or not, I wanted to be on the beach or enjoying myself rather than be stood over and warned that I wouldn’t go anywhere until the cards were written.  I learn’t to write in large letters so the task of writing was finished as quickly as possible and because the letters were large, I didn’t really have to write much.

When my father worked in london, he used to send us a postcard every couple of days all illustrated by little stick figures. Whwen I worked from home for sixteen weeks when my children were small I just rang home each evening.

Today my children use Facetime and What’s app to let us know the latest antics of the granchildren.

Postcard sales have droped from twenty million to just five million in 25 years. No family member is interested in taking over the business so the family is putting up the shutters. But will they?

I suspect that someone will buy them and, like Moon Pig has done, alter and modernise the postcard so that it has a new lease of life. These days I don’t look at my e-mails because I get hundreds. I don’t get anywhere near the post I used to receive ten years ago so I look at it all. I even read the few postcards I receive.

Besides if postcards die out, in a generation, destinations won’t be able to advertise “picture-postcard scenery” because no-one will know what it means.

I think it is just a bit too early to write the postcard off as a thing of the past.


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