Industry Changes...

Technology always creates change and in the last twenty or so years when I've paid attention I've experienced major changes as well.  I got out of college in the late 1980's and began work as a photographer's assistant in Seattle.  Film was still king. By 2005, my stock agencies didn't take film anymore so we all bought digital cameras. A few years later Polaroid went under as digital imaging became commonplace.  Gone were the days of late night film drops, meeting other photogs at the 'Pro Room' of various labs, lab bills, and waiting for our 'roids' to develop in the studio.  Ten or so years later all the photographers I know sit in their home offices staring at the computer while mostly connecting online or via text. The stock photo biz we once thrived on isn't profitable anymore and assignments are few and far between and/or not paying much.  But no worries, I don't miss the lab bills and have always enjoyed the instant digital image thing. Chasing clients down to get paid was getting old anyway.

In other industries, recently NOAA decided to end the printing of marine charts as it's easier for most to find them online, view on our phones, and/or print out at our leisure.  Another company, SeaTrails which made handy waterproofed marine charts for kayakers is apparently gone as well.  The same info can also be found online and many paddlers choose to view charts on their phones while underway.  GPS has changed things where if you're lost, just check your device. No need to pull out a chart and do compass readings unless you're GPS batteries are dead or you're navigating a complicated multi island situation.

From a marketing pov, SeaTrails charts say they're for 'kayakers'. In the world of paddling, people buy only for their specific sport. So if you're a SUP'er, you'll most likely only look for and buy SUP charts, buy SUP magazines, or SUP/surfing booties.  My Kayaking Puget Sound book is a revision of a book by Randel Washburne that has been out for 20 years.  I asked for the new title to be 'Paddling Puget Sound' but that would require selling it all over again to all the stores. They did allow for SUP and canoe pics in the book, so surf/SUP shops feel better about carrying it.  But why buy the book when you can get it on your iPad?

RIP SeaTrails.  I bought a few remaining copies at Seattle's Captain's Nautical Supplies today.


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