Have you been to a map store recently? I used to frequent an excellent store in Boulder, The Boulder Map Gallery, but confess that I haven’t been there in five or more years. That realization corresponds with the 70 percent sales decline that an Atlanta-area map store has seen in the last five years.
The viability of the paper map selling business is in jeopardy, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal. The story discusses the ways that paper-based mapmakers are adjusting to the switch to a digital world, but makes no comment measures that map retailers are taking.
One successful offshoot for map-centric stores is the sale of historical maps and prints as art, adding a framing service. While the portability of paper maps, without need for batteries, is a preference for back-country trips, when is the last time that you consulted a paper map for a local drive?