Paper diaries outsmart electronic age

Nobody really needs a paper diary in the smartphone age but steadily rising demand suggests many people still favour the datebook.

Handwritten diaries are proving popular.
Handwritten diaries are proving popular.  Photo: Justin McManus

Diary sales have increased for two successive years, several wholesale stationery suppliers say.

Paper diaries were more convenient, Greg Harrop, the state sales manager for GNS Wholesale Stationers, said.

Stylish diaries never go out of fashion.
Stylish diaries never go out of fashion. Photo: Supplied

The newsagent supplier reported a 10 per cent rise in diary sales last year.

"It's more convenient to scrawl something down than to pick up the phone," Mr Harrop said.  

And it's not just the serviceable workplace diaries that people want; designer diaries produced as gifts are also in demand.

Fitzroy art house stationers Zetta Florence found diaries were so popular this season, their range sold out by Christmas.

"They've been unbelievable this year," store owner Georgina Knightley said.

She said diaries were useful for projecting plans and brainstorming, while goal-setting varieties were popular gifts.

"I think there's a real connection between the mind and handwriting," Mrs Knightley said.

Diary fan Diana Mann said she had tried using the electronic diary on her phone, but preferred handwriting her appointments.

"I like to see things written down and I feel more comfortable with it," she said.

Nextra Australia director Shane Griffin, who has been selling diaries for more than 20 years, confirmed sales were as strong as ever.

"We're selling as many now as in the 1990s," Mr Griffin said.

When electronic calendars crashed or malfunctioned, customers returned to the written word, Mr Griffin said.

"The problem with electronics is you risk losing it," he said.

Professional organiser Robyn Amott said people who thought visually might prefer being able to see something confirmed in their own handwriting.

She suggested diarists use different colours for different commitments and blocking out appointments.

"Rather than just writing a note, block out the time so you don't overcommit yourself," Mrs Amott said.

The real goal for many diary buyers was to keep using their diary beyond February.

"I bought a diary for uni this year and I'm going to try and remember to use it," student Monique Briard said.