Front page authority ... killed off by the 24-hour news cycle. . Photo: Peter Stoop

When I told people what I'd done, they were aghast.
"I could never give them up," was the most common reaction. "I like the touch and feel, the smell."
"How are you going to clean your barbecue?" one friend asked. Indeed, I found I did not know how to dispose safely of a glass that smashed during our Christmas lunch. Or what to do with the recently shelled prawn-heads. Plastic just doesn't do it.
It's not until you get rid of them that you appreciate all the things that newspapers are good for. And I am not even talking about the contents. Nor were my friends.
Just before Christmas I cancelled all our newspapers. For someone who has had a four newspaper a day habit for most of her adult life this was a huge decision, taken with considerable trepidation.
There were practical reasons for this drastic action. Our newsagent changed hands resulting in irregular deliveries. This was due partly to "production problems" at both News Ltd and Fairfax but there was also the mysterious disappearance of our papers, particularly on Sundays, despite assurances that they had been delivered. Wouldn't happen with the iPad, I muttered to myself.
And we were also having problems getting the papers taken away. The vagaries of the City of Sydney's recycling collection policy sat uneasily with a household that had 28 newspapers a week to dispose of and where there was no backyard to store the wheelie bins mandated by the council. For a while we benefited from a personally negotiated solution that allowed us to use black plastic crates that could be stacked on our back balcony. But council workers would collect the crates as well as their contents and, the last time this happened, we decided it was time to jump on board the digital express.

I took out digital subscriptions to the Fairfax papers, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, and to News Ltd's The Australian.
Now we sit down to breakfast with iPads open. Unlike the printed papers, you can't scan the front pages to decide which one to read first so you have to randomly choose - then the frustrations begin.
Printed papers are the same format. With digital, every publication is different. Learning the different formats and, navigating them takes time. There are moments as I stumble around this strange environment I feel a bit like the monk in the hilarious Norwegian YouTube clip, ''Medieval Help Desk''. The middle-aged monk was having trouble adjusting from scrolls to books and needs help from a geeky young brother in learning how to turn pages