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Pixels Not Print: Go Paperless in 2013

First posted on Feb 23, 2013

Pixels Not Print: Go Paperless in 2013
What if Google declared war on the paper industry, but hardly anybody made a big deal about it?

Well that sentence isn't likely to rise to bumper-sticker fame, but it kind of sums up the lack of sizzle on both sides of the 'Go Paperless in 2013' campaign spearheaded by the Internet giant's Google Drive cloud storage division in conjunction with the following companies:

  • HelloFax -- online faxing
  • Manilla -- online bill management
  • HelloSign -- e-signatures
  • Expensify -- online expense reports
  • Xero -- online business accounting
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap -- scanners.

Pixels Not Print at FBTS
As you may remember if you are a loyal reader of this blog, in mid-January, we announced that we will never, ever, ever publish a print catalog due to our interest in commonsense business practices as well as our concern for the environment.

Catalogs are far too abundant in American mailboxes, and they are outdated by the time they arrive. Online catalogs make more sense to us. They eliminate waste of time and materials and keep our prices low enough for you to afford a beautiful Salvia garden.

So we were interested last month when the Go Paperless drive was announced. However, judging by the lack of oomph about the topic online, the initiative is smoldering instead of catching on fire. Perhaps that's because so many of us began going paperless years ago and it no longer surprises us.

Practical and Important But Not Novel
The initiative arrives at a time when few people find it novel to bank, pay bills, consult with doctors or write letters online. Going paperless is beginning to gain momentum without nudges from Google or screams from Big Paper.

Here is some evidence:

  • U.S. Savings Bonds went paperless in January 1, 2012.
  • Six months later, the bookseller Barnes & Noble began direct depositing employee paychecks instead of printing them. The LA Times found this ironic for a print-based business and ribbed B & N publically. Anybody out there still getting a printed paycheck?
  • Some universities now ask students to evaluate professors online instead of on paper.
  • On March 1, 2013, the U.S. Treasury will start direct depositing Social Security payments to banks or load them onto a debit card.
  • In an effort to decrease paper billing and snail mail payments, at least one electrical company -- People’s Powerline of Ada, Oklahoma -- is paying customers a $5 credit to switch to online services.
  • And, oh yes, you sent your mother an e-card valentine this year.

We could go on and on, but that bullet-riddled paragraph is beginning to snowball. So, okay, going paperless in 2013 isn't very exciting, but it is growing bigger on its own. It's a good idea even if nobody intends to go completely without.

Just in case you didn't read paragraph three or pay attention to our very fine Pixels Not Print manifesto last month, we'll shout our message again: Flowers by the Sea will never, ever, ever (that's right, never) print a catalog. We believe in online catalogs. We won't even send you printed instructions about how to grow our plants. Instead, we'll send you an email offering directions. And some day, who knows, maybe we'll send you an e-valentine.


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