In my younger days I spent a decade or so working in various record stores–you know, those places you would buy vinyl albums, cassettes, and more recently CD’s. Got word today about a former co-worker of mine, Clay Scales, and his planned shutdown of the 14-year old 52.5 Records in Charleston, South Carolina by November of this year. The demise of the record store has been well documented elsewhere, so I’ll resist the urge to wax rhapsodic about losing even the good indie stores like Clay’s, but a piece in MSN Money I just read got me thinking about it anyway.
In the article “Why E-Books Doom Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores” they even reference the music retail example of being eclipsed by new technology:
As recently as 2001 there were music stores everywhere. As many as 80,000 people worked in them, according to the Labor Department. And that was a number that had been steady for years.
In 2002 the iPod took off. Today the number working in music stores is 20,000 — a 75% collapse.
The Kindle, the Nook, and other E-readers are about to do to the book industry what Napster and the iPod have done to the music industry…and there’s not much we can do about it even if we wanted to.