I recently got in the postal mail REPRINTS of a recently published article of mine. This used to be standard—when an article was published you got 50 free copies. Less and less journals do this now.
Are reprints needed anymore?
NO: With everything online nowadays anyone who wants to find or read your article can.
YES: When someone visits you in your office its nice to be able to give them a copy without having to print it out. Also, when I went up for Tenure and Full Prof, I was asked for 14 copies of every article I ever wrote, so it was good to have the preprints around. (some went to my letter writers, which makes sense, some went to the committee deciding my case, which makes less sense, some went to the dean, provost, and for all I know the governor of Maryland, which makes no sense. Well maybe its okay–the governor has a Ph.D. in Mathematics–it was on Recursive Algebraic Topology. I am, of course, kidding–there is no such field.)
Even before the electronic age I never used reprints much (except when I went up for promotion). And the last few times I've written a letter for promotion I was NOT given the set of papers (NOTE: It would have been an appreciated courtesy if they had).
The article A Tight Lower Bound for Restricted PIR Protocols by Beigel, Fortnow and Gasarch (Computational Complexity, Vol 15, No 1, 2006, 82-91) can be YOURS if you send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to
Dept of Computer Science
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(I would bet $5.00 I won't get any takers, except that someone may take the bet and request a copy, thus gaining $4.61)