Valentine's day e-cards: Are they putting card publishers out of business?

Valentine's Day e-cards are getting the attention of big name greeting card manufacturers. But even if they're more convenient than physical cards, Valentine's Day e-cards don't come close to evoking emotion as their card stock cousins.

Associated Press
Valentine's Day e-cards putting printed card publishers out of business? Not in the slightest. Here, Roman Flores puts together arrangements of red roses in The Woodlands, Texas, Feb. 12.

Searching for the best Valentine's Day e-cards? Here's a preview of what you'll find and it’s very… whimsical. 

On e-card site, one of the featured interactive cards begins with the following illustration: a little leaf dangling by its stem underneath a tree canopy. 

Clicking and tugging the leaf snaps the stem and the leaf glides whimsically through the air toward a picnic table below. In the background is whimsical piano music. On the table, two birds and a squirrel lovingly adorn the fallen leaf with whimsical twigs, wildflowers, and berries. A butterfly lays across the leaf and a click of its wings makes them fold up, only to pop open with a message: 

"Wishing you a happy Valentine's Day that’s as special as you are!" 

Whimsy. Whimsy. Whimsy. Would you send that to your significant other? Your parent? Your grandparent? No. No you would not. 

E-versions of books may be driving brick and mortar bookstores out of business, but e-cards aren’t replacing printed greeting cards, says Kathy Krassner, spokesperson for the Greeting Card Association, which represents more than 200 greeting card publishers. 

"We find most people send e-cards to someone they've already sent a real card to or to an acquaintance who you wouldn't have sent a real card to anyway.” Ms. Krassner says. "You won't send your girlfriend or wife an e-card and they'd be annoyed if you did." 

Krassner says she expects consumers to purchase 145 million Valentine’s Day cards this year, which is down from 150 million last year. The number is based on estimates from card manufacturers like Hallmark and American Greetings, and Krassner believes it will increase as the numbers get readjusted after the holiday. 

In comparison, e-card site said in a statement that 2.5 million people used their website for Valentine's Day last year.

Americans purchase more approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards each year. Valentine's Day is the second largest card-sending holiday behind Christmas, Krassner says. 

Estimates do not include the Valentine's Day cards children purchase and hand out at school or cards that consumers buy online at sites like and through smart phone applications like Apple's Cards. 

Those online industries are growing, too, Krassner says. 

But e-cards have attracted enough attention that one of the Big 2 card manufacturers began scooping up the most notable e-greetings websites. American Greetings, the only card manufacturing company larger than Hallmark, owns,, and

Hallmark and American Greetings offer e-cards on their main website.

But e-cards do not concern Alan Friedman, president of Great Arrow Graphics, a small screen printed card producer whose cards are delivered via a courier in uniform.

"As a specialty publisher, we have been able to remain viable in our smaller independent accounts — though the numbers of these stores has declined as well," Friedman said. "It's tough out there, but some things are worth the effort to maintain."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Valentine's day e-cards: Are they putting card publishers out of business?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today