My jaw drops e-v-e-r-y time a writer or an artist comes to meetings without a business card to share. I hear them explain, "I don't have a business card." "I left them in the house." "I need to make some," etc. The opportunity for the exchange is gone and I may never get their information.
If you are not ready to network, what sort of connection are you planning on having? Last month, I asked a journalist, at her office, for a business card and she mentioned that the newspaper did not pay for business cards. Did it not occur to her to have some printed? She handed me a piece of paper with her information (simply not professional, in my opinion).
I highly recommend to come prepared with business cards. Be ready at anytime and anyplace. It will be crucial to have a card the day you meet the right person in your industry. Nobody knows when that will happen; hence, the importance.
On average I give a business card to a different person every day. Impossible you say? Not really. If ten people attend a meeting, that is ten cards that I am giving away. It is free advertising for your business they may keep for a very long time.
Case in point: A co-worker discovered that his mother knew me when he saw one of my business cards by his mother's dresser. He was shocked and so was I because that particular business card was seven years old! Incredible, but true.