I can remember, starting about a decade ago, that my print orders began to drop off. The heady excitement of the new - easy internet sharing/storage of visual information - had kicked in and, with a vigorous broom, was busy sweeping out what came before.
This situation was partly the result of digitals all-conquering new technologies coupled with a 'squeeze' in economic realities for many. If your digital device allows you to take technically good photographs which are then shared from your computer or internet - and for free - why pay?
Most new products/technologies need a bedding in time. There's usually a price to pay somewhere along the line that isn't immediately obvious - this particular one might prove high.
If decades of images are unable to be retrieved, a huge section of society's history will be lost. Most of us are fascinated by photographs - from Victorian to the present day. They offer a glimpse into our collective pasts, show us how we once appeared, and what we thought was important.