Historians of early print culture have long noticed a peculiar phenomenon: Not only had the invention of print not destroyed handwriting, it actually generated the need for more of it. The vast majority of printed matter hasn’t been novels and newspapers; it’s forms, certificates, and other types of ephemera that call for information — dates, signatures, place names — to be entered by hand. Paper seems to be going through a similar dynamic: as David J. Ungerpoints out in The Guardian after attending a paper-industry convention, the stuff you order on Amazon still requires lots and lots of paper packaging, and your smartphone can do many things, but wiping your nose isn’t one of them.

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