Physical vs. Digital

Media Hyped

Perhaps the greatest and most subtle advantage that physical media has over digital media is that the former allows for much more focus through exclusion.

Whether on an eReader, a game console, or a phone, you have direct or indirect access to most or all of your digital library at your fingertips. Useful when you want something new or to revisit an old favorite. Bothersome when you want to avoid the temptations of addictive or empty-calorie media. It’s all too easy to re-download that game you’ve already played for 200 hours or to buy “just one more” volume of the comic you’ve been reading all week. Every button press is a battle against procrastination.

With physical media, you can decide exactly what’s available. If you have nothing to read on the train but that one book you’ve been meaning to finish, boredom will see you through to the end. If you only have that one cartridge in the game console you brought on that flight, you may finally beat that final boss who’s given you so much trouble. Perhaps a phone with no reception is what you need to finally get around to drafting all those email replies you’ve been putting off. Deciding what you read, watch, play, write, depends as much or more on limiting your choices than on making the right one. Embrace those creative constraints. Perhaps you’ll even carry them back home with you.