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Shopping epiphanies

March 3, 2010

So I had two revelations while shopping this past weekend.  One led to some short, pretty serviceable poems.  The other led to this post.

I had some time to kill after I dropped my son off at a birthday party Saturday.  The grocery shopping I had wouldn’t take up the whole two hours, so I drove down Watson to the B & N.  I spent a few minutes looking over the latest issues of The Missouri Review (when did my sub run out, anyway?), Granta and the like, wandered through the fiction, and ended up back in music.

They need to rename that part of the store.  It’s more than half DVDs now, mostly Blu-ray, with the CDs shuffled over to the far, back corner like some sort of smut.  Unafraid of the stigma, I inspected the remaining offerings, and actually found a few things I was interested in, mostly back catalog from The Decemberists.

As I picked each album up, though, the same thought occurred to me over and over: I could just get this through iTunes.  I realized at that moment why the section had shrunk so dramatically in the last year.  Even people of my generation had moved on past the need for CDs.

Then I looked out at the rest of the store.  The part filled with books.  The part I’d like to contribute to.

It took me twelve years from when I first heard about digital music files to get to where I am now.  I’m not a first adopter by nature, either.  The Sony readers came out in what, 2007?  That leaves nine years.

I don’t think print books are going away.  I do think they’re going to become niche items, like vinyl records are now.  You can’t support chains of 20000 sq ft retail boxes on niche items, or big print publishers for that matter.  Anyone who thinks differently is sitting in a throne on the beach telling the tide to go out.

I ended up buying some Steinbeck and a book on medieval Irish history, if you’re curious.  Sort of like picking up starfish and tossing them back in.

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