send-a-letter-online-__-snailmailr-com-1 That pesky E keeps sneaking in to replace P. The main point of this blog is e-books, of course, but a related e-versus-p dichotomy involving printed matter is e- versus p-mail.

E-mail has replaced paper mail for a lot of purposes. Now people who used to write long letters every week or month instead send short e-mails every day. The jury is still out as to whether this is actually an improvement.

But sometimes one does still have to send paper letters, and that can be a matter of some inconvenience—printing it out, addressing the envelope, going down to the post office. But Salon Magazine reports on a service called Snailmailr, which will print and mail paper mail anywhere. The price starts at 99 cents for 2 pages, including paper, envelope, and postage.

The only snailmail I have to send tends to be checks, so this service would not be for me—but for people who do have to send paper letters and wish it could be done with the convenience of e-mail, this could be a pretty good deal.

99 cents is twice the cost of a postage stamp—but as Salon points out, that might be a small price to pay for dodging the inconvenience of dealing with paper yourself.


  1. I liked this story, thanks, Chris. I still use snail mail quite a bit, since not all my friends in Taiwan have email accounts. And i love addressing the envelope, writing my return address on the top left side, walking over to the Post Office and buying a stamp, licking it and putting it on the envelope and then dropping it into the mailbox outside in front on the Post Office. It’s a ritual. I see people, talk to them, joke with the clerks, good exercise. Of course, most of my mail these days is email, of course. But you bring up a good point here, which is why i am glad you posted this: SNAIL MAIL. one word or two. But the word itself, how old traditional normal mail was given the NEW slang name of SNAIL MAIL, and it’s cute and funny and makes sense, even though the mail does NOT move at a snail’s pace exactly, it just seems that way compared to e-mail. My point? Well, just as the culture invented this word SNAIL MAIL, to compare it with E Mail, it is quite possible that one day too the culture will come up with a NEW slang word for reading on paper, the old traditional way of reading, I have no idea what it might be, “snail-reading” or “curio-reading” or “p-reading”… order to differentiate it from the new reading we do on screens, which is the REAL reading of today’s new world. So if mail could branch out to form two words, snail mail and email, it is also possible that someday “READING” could branch out to form two words, one for paper reading, one for e-reading. We just don’t know what those words will be yet. The NEW word might be for the old kind of reading on paper, or for the NEW kind of reading on screens. As Steve Jordan likes to say: time will tell the tale.

  2. Chris,
    thanks to you, i decided i like the term snail-paper or snailpaper, to refer to the print edition of my local newspaper, which by the time it arrives on my doorstep in the morning, is already 12 hours old news…… so I am now calling the print edition of the New York Times and all other print newspapers as “snailpapers” — let’s see if it catches on.

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