Sounds like I'm selling postcards, doesn't it! Nope.
A blog that I follow posted an interesting article about Lettr, a New Digital Way to Send Custom Postcards. This sounded like a pretty cool idea. I have thousands of pictures taken during my eighteen weeks (three visits) in Thailand. It would be cool to make some postcards with some of them, for example the image here of Paula and I at the White Wat in Chiang Rai. The bottom line is $2.49 per postcard, mailed to anywhere in the world.
My Only Reservation
The postcards from Lettr get mailed from their printing plant, wherever that is, with a message that you've typed into their website (250 characters limit) using your photograph that you've uploaded to them. Fast, efficient, easy.
I was ready to GO with this idea! At first.
Then I thought some more about it. One of the cool things about a postcard is that it has a personal message scrawled on it by a friend, maybe even with a tiny drawing or doodle, maybe a drawn heart or X for a kiss at the end and their signature. Maybe there's an afterthought printed in tiny text down the left side to squeeze it in. It has real character! You might have to look it over for some time before you can even figure out what they said. It's a test of the sender's eloquence in a small space, the pen on paper mirror of Twitter.
AND it has a local stamp, one the recipient has likely never seen, if they haven't been to the country you're visiting. Selecting a cool stamp is half the fun of sending a postcard, and part of the thrill of receiving one.
Lettr doesn't make this sort of thing possible. Hmmmm, bummer!
Well maybe there's another way. Moo cards were fresh in my mind as I had been thinking about ordering business cards from them. They seemed to be innovative and their printed products look very nice on their website.
But do they do postcards with photographs you send them? Yup, they do! But they'll cost too much, right? Nope, $9.99 for ten postcards and each of the cards can have different pictures, if you'd like! You can even put pictures on both sides of a card, if you don't mind mailing them with an envelope. Well, I wouldn't want to use an envelope, but just sayin'.
Okay, but it'll take forever to get them and cost a lot in postage! Yes and no. I checked the cost of producing ten postcards with my own images, mailed directly to me in Thailand. The cheapest cost for ten postcards is $21.24 for the printing, shipping and handling with a turnaround time of 14-19 business days. Too long for most tourists, but no problem for expats living in Thailand who want to send postcards home!
One year ago the cost to mail a postcard from Thailand to the US was 15 Baht, or about 46 ¢ at the current exchange rate. Maybe the rate has gone up some since then, but probably not much, if any.
So we have ($21.24 / 12) + 46 ¢ per card, which comes out to $2.23 per postcard. Cheaper than Lettr! And since my trips to Thailand have been lasting five to seven weeks each, it is even workable for me. And look at all the cool stamps I would have to choose from. YES!
My Life With Postcards
I started getting a lot of postcards at the age of fifteen, when I became a licensed amateur radio operator. Hams send postcards to each other to confirm that they had successfully made contact with their wireless signals. They're called QSL Cards in ham lingo. I had never been outside the US, but I was receiving postcards from all over the world. It was very very cool. You'll notice that the QSL card archive I linked to even has a tab for selecting images of envelopes with their colorful stamps from all over the world. Even after I went off to college, my mother continued to save the stamps I was still receiving on envelopes from all over.
Maybe you can have some fun with postcards too in this digital age, a nice mixture of high tech and the tradition of ink on paper. Impress your friends with your leisure time abroad.