Thoughts on Thoughts on the Death of Physical Media

It's all over now, baby Blu-rayToday is going to be one of those days where I run around doing my best to convince other people that I’m on top of various situations, and that everything is under control. Because if you say that often enough, and with the right amount of confidence in your voice, it could actually be true.

The entertainment industry knows something about projecting confidence in the face of total collapse — as you’ll see if you take a look at Noel Murray’s AV Club essay on the death of big-box bookstores and the related shifts in the shopping habits of hardcore media consumers. It’s spurred in part by Dave Kehr’s recent New York Times meditation on the stagnation of DVD sales, which of course is also playing a role in the collapse of Borders.

On some level, I have to side with the dinosaurs on this one. I love physical media, and can’t understand why people would forsake libraries of LPs, CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays for the cold, Spartan containment of a hard-drive array. Who wouldn’t want to gaze upon those glorious Criterion cases, or worry over the placement of a prized boxed set on the shelf?

Or, as countless generations have said before: The kids today, man. I just don’t get it.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thoughts on the Death of Physical Media”

  1. Gotta admit I’m kind of ambivilent about all this. I would have expected I’d side with the dinosaurs, but I went from owning a bookstore to owning a Kobo in less than a year. I also gave my arthritic knees a break and did all my Xmas shopping online in 2010. I may never go to a mall or big box store again.

    I do see your point about physical media, though. I would probably still want to own my favorite books, movies, etc. in physical form, hoarding them like Smaug’s treasure. The shift from dinosaurs to downloaders is happening faster than I’d have ever expected.

  2. I’m definitely on the side of physical media and bricks and morar stores too and have blogged about this a couple of times recently also. Not only have I decided to shun e-book readers for the foreseeable fufture but I actually went out and bought a turntable and started picking up vinyl again. To me, without the physical presence of a book, movie or music there’s just not as much there to enjoy.

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