From Microsoft's Courier tablet concept to apps like Paper, it's been obvious that tablets and traditional notebooks just go together, even if no one's been perfectly clear on how. The latest take is by the San Francisco startup Need/Want, which plans to sell physical notebooks that are meant to be filled up, shipped away, and then digitized before automatically appearing on the note taker's tablet or smartphone. The idea is to let people who prefer real notebooks just use a real notebook, but then to make all of their doodles, diagrams, and comments easily accessible online.
A subscription service for notebooks
Both the notebooks and their accompanying app are called Draft, and they're being launched through a Kickstarter campaign that begins today. This will be Need/Want's second time heading to Kickstarter — the first try successfully funded a bedding product — and its looking for $20,000 in order to make the notebooks a reality. Eventually, Need/Want plans to sell the notebooks through a subscription model, mailing you a new one every month alongside a return label to ship back the previous notebook.
The concept isn't an entirely novel one though: Evernote began selling notebooks in partnership with Moleskine last year which could be digitized just by using just your phone's camera (meaning you didn't lose your notebook in the end either). But though Need/Want requires that you take the surprisingly analog step of mailing your notebook away, it still intends to make the entire process much cheaper, around just $14 per notebook including shipping and scanning — $10 less than Evernote's least expensive model.
Unfortunately, Draft's scanning system won't make the content of each notebook searchable, though Need/Want tells us that it's considering different tagging and organization systems that could be used within the app. That absence may make Draft far from the ideal way to bring physical notes into the digital world, but for those still tied to pen-and-paper, it could be a good start.
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