Why the Scrapbook Industry Is in Decline

Scrapbook & Scrapbooking_crop

Walmart, Target, and Michaels no longer devote huge areas of their stores to scrapbooking and many specialty retailers have gone out of business entirely. According to Google Trends, search volume for scrapbooking and scrapbook has declined 70 percent since its peak in 2005-2006, with an additional decline of 5 percent projected for this year.

Habit The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg describes the motivations behind purchases and the reason purchasing decisions change. It also provides a good explanation as to why scrapbooking has declined so precipitously over the last several years.

Basically, all habits start with a cue, continue with an action, and then end with a reward. For scrapbooking, the cue was a stack of 4×6 prints (preferably a large stack of double prints), the action was purchasing and completing a scrapbook, and the reward was the finished book.

With digital cameras, the traditional cue is missing. Prints are no longer a consequence of pressing the shutter, and the average person is just not bothered by an array of files stored on a memory card or hard disk somewhere. Out of sight is truly out of mind.

I don’t know what the solution to this problem is, but I do know that Shutterfly, Snapfish, and others will need to develop an effective cue for memory preservation to succeed in the digital age.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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17 Responses to Why the Scrapbook Industry Is in Decline

  1. Lisa says:

    I feel sorry for all the little kids out there who will not have any pictures of themselves at their homes, either on the wall or in photo albums. It does a child good to see pictures of themselves in the home, on their parents nightstands, on top of the piano, on the wall in the living room. How sad!

    • beth says:

      I agree. I realize that a lot of what I remember of my childhood are dates that are in photo albums, seeing the pictures reinforce the memory. a lot of my friends have tons of pictures on their phones, but never print any thing out. I print out a lot and my kids love looking at the albums.

  2. Sandy Fryer says:

    Look for a Creative Memories Consultant and attend one of
    their workshops. You will be totally inspired by other people
    working on their photos. I’ve been scrapping for the past 19 years
    and helping others get their photos out of boxes and off their

  3. Dena says:

    I understand the stack of photos cue. Now instead of
    dropping the roll of film off I have to sort through four times the
    number of photos, digitally edit them and then upload them to a
    source that prints them that usually crashes… The days of film
    and scrapbook style photo albums were much easier.

  4. Pingback: Why the Scrapbook industry is declining | Scrapbook Idea

  5. Dinah says:

    My Creative Memories business is STILL wildly successful with traditional scrapbook attendees! One has to remember to delete unwanted pictures on their digital cameras and develop those precious photos and create a scrapbook to put in the lap of every child! It is so important for every child to have that written documentation, photos and stories of their childhood and upbringing! Keep calm and scrap on!

    • jones says:

      Why? These children don’t care to sit and look through decorated pages… and the cost is SO much money!! Go Digital and save your cash… reuse elements and let kids view the pages on devices they enjoy using. Sorry – but your traditional scrapping business is NOT viable any longer.. though you may wish to hope so.

      • dinah says:

        After 3 years I just now saw your reply, jones and have to tell you otherwise!!! I have a wildly successful side business of supplying my 50-70 committed traditional clients and friends that continue to still do traditional scrapbooks! My 2 yearly 5 day retreats fill each year with repeat attendees and they’d have it NO OTHER WAY!!!

  6. Mark Mizen says:

    From Facebook:

    Joan Slonka
    Makes complete sense to me. It’s what I said all along, out of sight out of mind. People no longer have shoe boxes full of pictures stored away under their beds and so they’re not worried about them anymore. It seems their only goal is to post them on Facebook.

    Lorraine Gallardo
    I agree with this.

    Janell Schwandt
    I agree completely..out of site out of mind…get pics posted on facebook for friends and family to see and that is it. Is a sad thing. There is nothing like paging through a photo album….the touch and feel.

    Tami Manke Emricson
    Get everyone to go print their pictures!

    Bobbie Ward-Hinds
    I still do a LOT of scrapbooking, but it’s all digital. I have no need for paper, stickers and tools. In fact, I’m even considering selling my Cricut and cartridges. I thought I would use them for other things but so far a few 4-H posters is about it.

    Pam Madden Russell
    The problem with “out of sight out of mind” with digital is that if pictures aren’t printed in some way whether photos or digital books, at some point they will just disappear and families will no longer have family memories that they can look at and share. I can’t think of anything worse than that. It will be like going back to a time before photography existed.

    Janene Lewis Bushey
    I have 48,000 photos on my laptop and fortunately I do scrapbook (digitally) a good amount of those photos. As a CM consultant for 10 years I see so many people just leaving the pics on the laptops….and now on their phones. It seems that stand alone cameras are beginning their disappearance als thanks to phones and tablets. I just wish people could look into the future and see how important it is to PRINT those photos and get them into an album.

  7. Ingrid says:

    I still teach scrapbooking classes as a Stampin’ Up! creative instructor, but too have seen a drop off in traditional scrapbook clients. I’m grateful that we’re not all just about scrabooking, but also card making for versatility.

    It saddens me to see such a steep decline in the scrapbooking industry that has been one of my creative passions since 1995. But, I’ve also learned to do a little of both traditional scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking. Both have their place, and I enjoy both.

    Scrapbooking is still very much alive – it’s just not around every corner anymore. You can still get great products, ideas and instruction from many resources.

    Off to plan for my next scrapboooking class! 🙂

  8. ejoym says:

    This really saddens me! I believe that many people I talk to still desire to preserve their memories and share their stories (myself included) for their children and the generations to come! Scrapbooking is still very vital even with the digital age of photos. People need to realize that photos on a computer are not as safe as they think and can not be easily accessed. I still teach classes (both on-line and in my home) for scrapbooking and agree with Ingrid that it is still VERY much alive 🙂

  9. Joyce says:

    I do see it’s harder to find scrapbooking items in local stores. I have to go out of town or buy online, but definitley do not buy much at all now a days do to economy. I have a small amount for spending a month very minimum and some months I don’t have any left to spend lol. Anyhow I do hope scrapbooking supplies come back to the stores like Walmart etc. and I hope the prices are low as that’s a huge factor in why so many don’t develop their photos the cost simply is to much for mny to even consider. I like mny others bought so much when it was first popular and economy was good I remember getting 57 to 100 dollars worth of paper in one trip ! I have enough paper for now but I have gone thru and shared much of it with others so they could do scrapping and card making etc. I still share but not as often or in s large amounts as it is hrs to find places to get paper now. I hope rubber stamping don’t leave the stores I’d be so sad for that as well. Younger generation just don’t have them money the time or even the desire to sit down and create they prefer the digital and facebooking photos to share ;( .i do plead that someone finds a way to make it affordable for all to make ablums as this is important for generations to generations to see their photos as babies and after loved ones pass away they still have their memories in a handmade book.

  10. Komi808 says:

    you should try fanzine for iPhone , a kind of Instagram for scrapbooks, the designs they provide are beautiful and the fanzines designs themselves as you add photos, videos and text. Family and friends can follow your scrapbooks etc…it’s great.

  11. annamatrix says:

    Until the internet crashes, the memory sticks fail, the hard drive is no longer viable… and then all of those memories are gone. My girlfriend lost six years of pictures when her computer burned up… not a single shot of her child from that time left.

    I have a whole process. The photos come off the camera into a folder with that month/year as the name. Then at the end of the month, I go thru the photos and delete the bad ones/extras. Then I go to the month *before* that and condense, edit, and prep them for printing. They get burned on a disk, put in ‘D’ drive and also taken on a thumbdrive to Walmart for printing. Then they get cropped paged, and eventually decorated. (((blush!)))

    Have to admit… the OLD way of scrapbooking was probably why it died – four pictures per page? It was too time consuming to do that much ‘filler’ decorating, and the books got too big too fast. My way has always been at least six pictures per page, and less decorating.

    But for YEARS I have wished some photo printing company would come up with a cheap way to make ‘yearbooks’… let us ‘scrapbook’ pages on the screen, and they put them together in a book for me. Half the thickness of the traditional scrapbook, less supplies to buy… But so far, the pricing is just too astronomical for me.

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