Today was a day that I never thought would arrive -- the day my wife and I decided to stop getting home delivery of the Salem Statesman Journal and Portland Oregonian.
Given our age, early 70s, we grew up reading newspapers printed on dead trees that crinkled when you turned the pages.
Laurel and I both like print newspapers.
But we also like seeing the Statesman Journal and Oregonian in the paper box at the end of our driveway. And increasingly, that wasn't happening.
Our neighbors reported the same thing was happening to them. So even though I registered a complaint every time this occurred, which was often, the delivery still was erratic.
Plus, for four years I've subscribed to the online editions of the New York Times and Washington Post.
I find it easy and pleasant to read those newspapers on my computer, iPad, or iPhone.
So it finally dawned on me that I could do the same with the Statesman Journal and Oregonian, though neither has a web site as clean and easy to navigate as the Times and Post.
Thus today I phoned customer service at the Oregon newspapers and changed our subscriptions to digital only.
That resulted in big savings. The Statesman Journal went from $59 a month to $10. The Oregonian went from $54 to $23.
Bottom line: instead of paying $113 a month for the two papers, now we're paying $33 -- $80 a month less.
It felt like a bittersweet moment, talking to the customer service people. I've gotten home delivery of the Statesman Journal for 44 years, ever since moving to Salem from Portland in 1977.
Holding a newspaper in my hand as I eat breakfast has been a part of my life for much longer. As long as I can remember, actually.
OK, as a kid I probably focused on the comics. Which is still one of the favorite parts of the Oregonian for my wife, in large part because of Pearls Before Swine, a pleasingly acerbic comic strip.
After I switched to digital only, I couldn't find the comic strips on the Oregonian's oregonlive.com site. I also couldn't find the TV sports listings that I frequently refer to in the print paper.
But after logging into my Oregonian account I found the e-newspaper that looks just like the print newspaper, insofar as a paper on a screen looks like a printed paper.
That solved the problem of comics and TV sports listings. (The Statesman Journal also has an e-edition, but I prefer the Oregonian for everything other than the few Salem stories in our local newspaper.)
So right now I have no regrets about going all-in on digital newspapers. Should mention that I also subscribe to the digital Salem Reporter for about $8 a month.
Thus I'm getting a healthy dose of daily news for not a whole lot of money per month: $15 New York Times, $15 Washington Post, $10 Statesman Journal, $23 Oregonian, $8 Salem Reporter -- $71 a month total.
That's just $12 a month more than I was paying each month for Statesman Journal home delivery. Going digital is a lot more cost-effective, for sure.
I suspect print newspapers will become extinct before too long. Us baby boomers probably are the last generation to have a longstanding love affair with holding a print newspaper in our increasingly wrinkled hands.
Young people probably can't understand that infatuation, having grown up with smart phones and other electronic devices in the same way us old folks grew up with paper, pencils, and slide rules.
(Google "slide rule" youngsters, if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)