Random scattered thoughts
Long boring sleepness nights at boarding school, I'd frequently sneak out of the dormitory and curl up somewhere cosy with an RS catalogue. Sometimes Maplin, back in the days when products weren't repeated a dozen times and the catalogue was stuffed with useful information. I'd wonder what PLCs were and how you'd use them. I'd get maps from the geography room and look at the list of TV transmitters and try to work out why the transmitters were placed the way they are.
Sometimes, even now, I have catalogues to browse, from La Redoute to Farnell. Not looking for anything in particular, just looking. Waiting for a spark of inspiration, or not. I find on-line resources are 99% terrible in this respect. If you know exactly what you want, you're good to go. If you aren't sure, it gets progressively more difficult. And if just want to idly browse, you can't beat a paper copy.
In defence of electronic media, however, is the venerable PDF datasheet. I have loads of data on the innards of a variety of devices in my possession. I'm looking at doing some code for the OSD, so I have datasheets of all the stuff inside it. Now, getting those the old fashioned way would be nigh on impossible. As PDFs, remarkably simple. I would like to print them (to sit in the sun in the garden and read through some of the things I'm hazy on) but at several reams, I think not. Oh well, here's hoping for a decent PDF-compatible (and this includes zoom for the tech diagrams) eBook reader at a reasonable price sometime soon. After all, those silly digital photo frame gizmos were once 100 euros each, now you can pick up better ones for 30. MP3 players with a massive 256Mb were obscene money. The same price five years later will get you an 8Gb video-capable unit. So, in a few years...
To end, a comment from my mother: Girls enjoy receiving love letters. To wrap a ribbon around them, to put them in a shoe box. To cherish. To take out and read many years later, the beautiful and the cringeworthy. All of this stands to be lost if you email or, worse, text. You can't beat a proper, considered, handwritten letter. An actual physical thing.