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Physical Media might not be dead, but Physical Media in Retail Stores are accelerating the death

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by mrz7, Mar 4, 2018.

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  1. PMF

    PMF Producer

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    Being that Barnes and Noble sells neither panels nor players, I would have to give them the award for keeping physical media alive; as their selections outshines all others. Add to this that they are the only business I know of that offers a full, if not exclusive, selection of Criterion titles. They are not so close to where I live, so when I'm in that area they have become a destination. What a pleasure it is to browse Criterion and walk out with a few purchases, without waiting for the mail to arrive. Physical Media is very much alive and well at Barnes and Noble; especially when one checks out their city stores. Their NYC store around 18th street inspires.
     
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  2. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    ^I would love to support the local B&N store. The problem is their prices. I just refuse to reward greed. If they were in line with the online prices I'd not complain and give them some local business, but they aren't. As it is, I only go there every 3-4 months to browse the "cutout" books.
     
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  3. SeanSKA

    SeanSKA Stunt Coordinator

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    NYC has become a wasteland. We used to have huge Tower, HMV, Virgin, and J&R Music World (my favorite) locations, and they've all closed down. Best Buy is a shadow of it's former self. Only Barnes & Nobles even attempts to keep a decent stock of CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays (and I look forward to their twice yearly Criterion sales to stock up) ,

    I used to love going shopping for music and movies as a way to unwind, especially after work.
     
  4. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Market Street on San Francisco used to have a used record store that also sold videotapes, laserdiscs, and DVD. It's gone, along with the bookstore. Haight-Ashbury and the area thereabout still has a few places left.

    Salinas has a delightful little place called Downtown Book and Sound that still sells used books and recorded media. Whenever I have the money to spare, I pick up something that catches my fancy.

    Worse comes to worst, there are always thrift shops.

    Really? I thought it enabled its existence in the first place. :D
     
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  5. TJPC

    TJPC Cinematographer

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    When we went to a mall, my wife went to her clothing stores, and I went to the record stores. Now she goes to her clothing stores and I hold her purse and coat and sit on a bench. :unsure:
     
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  6. AndrewCrossett

    AndrewCrossett Second Unit

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    One rare bright spot recently for Best Buy's CD selection has been their Christmas CD's. They've always had a whole rack of them. Last year I bought 3... Cheap Trick's new Christmas album, one by the Temptations, and IIRC another Motown collection. Guess I'll have to look elsewhere next Christmas.
     
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  7. AndrewCrossett

    AndrewCrossett Second Unit

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    Oy, don't even get me started. My local mall used to have two bookstores, two record stores, one cassette store, and one video store. (Not counting the GameStop videogame store.) Now all that's left is the GameStop and an FYE with about one aisle of DVD's left. I used to get lost for hours in those stores. Now I don't even go to the mall anymore unless I need to buy shoes or something.
     
  8. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Word.

    I draw the line at holding the purse, though, Terry. If she wants to bring it...she can carry it. :D

    I go a LOT less than I used to. And when I do, I find myself sitting in the car with my newspapers...listening to the radio/CDs (which I am NOT buying in a mall media store--BECAUSE THERE AREN'T ANY!!). :wacko:
     
  9. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Similar sentiments.

    I don't even go to the nearby indoor malls anymore for anything.

    I end up either going to the costco or a wallyworld, which are typically big box standalone shops.

    Until a few years ago, I use to do some of my clothes shopping at the nearby Sears. Though unfortunately the nearby Sears outlets closed down. No point in driving across town to another Sears store.
     
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  10. Message #90 of 417 Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    PMF

    PMF Producer

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    Yes, Barnes and Noble can be expensive. But never have I noticed that their prices on a Criterion disc to be beyond the MSRP. Also, they are the last hold-out for a great selection of Physical Media; which is far, far better than what can be said for the rest. So, it's always a pleasure to support them, otherwise they may end up joining the others.
     
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  11. Message #91 of 417 Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    Bobby Henderson

    Bobby Henderson Stunt Coordinator

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    Amazon is far from the only thing keeping drivers for UPS, Fed-Ex, etc employed. Meanwhile dozens of jobs are lost with the closing of just one decent sized retail store. My town has seen hundreds of jobs lost with the closing of stores like Hastings, Sears, Kmart, numerous mall tenants and some independent local retailers.

    Amazon collecting sales tax on purchases is better than nothing. The company recently starting collecting sales tax on orders here in Oklahoma, but that's only because they're building a distribution center in Oklahoma City.

    Local brick and mortar businesses contribute a lot more than just sales tax to the local and state economy. They contribute property tax directly or via the property owner who has their lease. Their employees pay their own share of income, sales and property taxes as well as spend a decent amount of their paychecks in the local economy. The brick and mortar business has to buy goods and services from the local community. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC techs, landscapers, sign companies and various other businesses draw quite a bit of their own income from local retailers. The employees of those businesses circulate their money throught the local economy as well. That's the essence of the "economic multiplier" effect.

    When an out of town or online business sucks money out of a local economy the ripple effects go farther than just putting a local retailer out of business. The restaurant industry and movie theater industry are both going through downturns of customer traffic. Some of that downturn is contagion from the crisis going on with brick and mortar retail.

    If enough of us do as much shopping as possible online a bunch of us will find ourselves jobless. A whole lot of the push to move commerce online is about race to the bottom economics.

    A big factor driving the closing of music stores, book stores, movie theaters and some other types of retailers is the real estate feeding frenzy going on in the Big Apple. Foreign investor money, hedge funds and other opportunists are driving property prices into a new bubble. Close a big movie theater, then build some luxury apartments on the same spot. Living costs in NYC are insane. It's somewhat amazing how far the homicide rate has dropped in the 5 boroughs (from over 2000 murders in 1990 to just under 300 in 2017 and with 1 million more residents). But then again NYC is getting to the point where you have to be well off or clearly rich to afford living there.

    The music, movie and book stores in our local mall (Sam Goody's, fye, Walden Books) all closed years ago. I couldn't believe stores like Sam Goody's would charge full MSRP (or even higher than MSRP in some cases) for music CDS, DVDs, etc. But then I found out what they were paying in mall rent and that made the high prices easier to understand. Nevertheless, locals would find better bargains at Hastings, Walmart, etc. And that's not counting the Amazon effect.
     
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  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Sadly, I agree.

    If you go to a Barnes and Noble, you will likely be charged a higher in-store price than the online price. That doesn't really make sense, and I can't afford to pay that. Happened with Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series. My Amazon preorder was delayed and I really wanted it, so I thought I'd go to Barnes and Noble. Their website had it for a dollar or two extra than what I paid at Amazon to have it shipped, but noted that the price for store pickup would be about $15 higher than what their online price was. Now, if it had been a dollar or two extra, my desire to have it immediately probably would have won, but $15 more in store over their own online price? As a consumer, I can't justify throwing away money like that.

    I've tried to support independent record stores, but that's also out of my budget. Every indie record store I've gone to in recent years has charged either full retail price or even higher than retail price for music and movies, and again, I can't afford to pay that. I'm not even talking about not deeply discounting like Amazon might, I mean that for an item with a $19.99 MSRP, they might charge $25 or $30 for it. I understand that they're struggling, and I want to help out the local guy, but there's a limit to what I can do. I saw one store maybe two years ago that had a huge selection of Warner Archive DVD-R titles available for sale, and they appeared to be new and sealed. The problem was, the retail price from WA is $21.99, and these guys wanted $30 for each of them. Even if I were to order only one title from WA at full retail price and pay the shipping (nevermind that I could get it from Amazon Prime with free shipping), it's still less than $30.

    I also want to point out that in the golden age of physical media, before Napster, before illegal downloading became a thing, before online ordering started taking off, a lot of local stores (and the studios and labels that provided the product can probably be faulted somewhat in this too) were charging full retail for pretty much everything in the store, minus that week's new releases. Every time I went to a Sam Goody, a Wall, an FYE, any catalog disc that I wanted was being offered at full retail. They'd ask $18.99 for a CD that came out ten years earlier, or $29.99 for a DVD that was a few years old. As a consumer, that would drive me crazy, and it definitely encouraged me to order online when that became an option. For even more consumers, it encouraged them to download from Napster instead. These physical media stores (and the studios/labels that set the retail prices) harmed their own businesses by overcharging the customer for years. Big box stores like Best Buy and Target, in my experience, helped out by offering some discounts that even if more expensive than Amazon, were at least based on some level of reality. So in my view, dedicated media stores have been driving away customers for years before online ordering became prevalent by offering ridiculously high prices. They created the opening that Amazon and others have exploited.

    But ultimately, ever since I was a kid getting into collecting VHS, my mail ordering (and then internet ordering) has been about trying to get items that were unavailable locally. It's not my fault that that's where my tastes generally are. And I don't think it's the store's fault for not being able to stock every obscure item in the hope that someone like me might come by and purchase it one day. It just is what it is. This has been a lifelong issue for me -- before the internet, I'd be mail ordering from catalogs or Columbia House because those were the options I had to find the things I wanted.

    Speaking of sales tax, one thing worth noting is that even if the online store doesn't collect sales tax, that doesn't mean that the purchaser is exempt from paying it. If you live in a state that has sales tax, you are required to pay tax for out of state and online purchases when you file your state and federal income taxes at the end of the year.

    HTF's owner Ron Epstein works for the postal service and has committed before on how Amazon deliveries have been a real shot in the arm for USPS. So yes, while online ordering might have decreased local sales numbers for certain items and even put some local stores out of business, it's also benefited other businesses. In an era of electronic communications, postal service mail was probably always going to face a decline in demand, but it turns out that their business may be saved by partnering with Amazon and other online merchants. I'm not sure that that's a bad thing.
     
  13. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    That's because pretty much everything in a mall now is either clothes, women's accessories (jewelry, perfume, etc.), or food, with the occasional phone repair stand thrown in. Not much there for those sporting XY chromosomes.
     
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  14. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    (On the other coast).

    I fondly remember the Tower on Sunset, from my youth.

    In those days, it was like entering vinyl heaven. :)
     
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  15. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
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    I’m with you on owning physical media. Correct me if I’m wrong but one can’t bequeath their cloud media in a will or pass it on if their isn’t one to next of kin.
     
  16. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Has anyone done this officially?

    I wouldn't be surprsied it has already been done unofficially (or under the table), where somebody just gave their login + pw to somebody else.
     
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  17. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    With the audio cd patents already expired, and most of the dvd-video patents already (or almost) expired, in principle anybody can soon manufacture a relatively patent-free cd/dvd player or computer drive.
     
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  18. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    AFAIK it can only be done "unofficially." I remember reading about a case a few years back where someone had a rather large iTunes library that their heirs attempted to recover following the "owner's" death only to be told by Apple "Sorry - can't be done." Essentially pointing to the "fine print" which states it's "owned" by the original purchaser only and can't be passed on. You'd have to have it all downloaded somewhere to pass it on. There's no current way to do this with movies other than the "unofficial" method.

    IMHO, that, plus that you also can't sell or give away that digital copy once it's "in the cloud" (another way to say "living on someone else's server"), is a major impediment and the overriding reason I'll never "own" digital over physical.
     
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  19. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    There's one vendor I used in the early days of the internet, when things were still dial up and BBS systems ruled called "Noteworthy Music." They ran out of someone's garage in NY. They had software you'd load on your computer and then do a dial-up long distance call to download their catalog to your system. If was in print they likely carried it. You'd browse the catalog off-line, build your purchase list, and connect to them to upload the purchase data and CC information. You updated the local catalog and software via rather small downloads. Their prices were fantastic, often as much as 60% off MSRP and typically 40% off. Even with the long distance calls and shipping, an order of 2-3 selections would be 10% or more less than local prices. I really hated when they closed up shop.
     
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  20. Suzanne.S

    Suzanne.S Stunt Coordinator

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    What I meant by the odd discovery is just that - when you buy something or look at something on Amazon they then show you what other people also bought with that title, etc. Sometimes they come up with something I wasn't aware of. But it's a far cry from browsing the shelves at a store where the cover art or title might catch youreye and BOOM! you discover something that you had no idea existed.

    And as far as the prices at Barnes & Noble. Things that are not on sale are MSRP, but they run sales all the time. I've discovered things that I didn't know Ineeded by browsing just the sale items. And of course their bi-annual 50% off Criterion sale makes it all worthwhile.
     

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