Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Albums, CDs, Books, and eBooks...What I learned at Best Buy

I have to admit I meant to post this story yesterday, which is when it actually happened. But life got in the way, so I decided to post it today, a Wednesday, which is literally the busiest day of my week. (Evidenced by the fact that when I originally posted this, I neglected to give it a title. I am awesome.) I usually get up early to go into the office for a very important meeting (read: watch LOST with a co-worker), then I work until 5:30 and head straight to my part-time job, where I sling pizza and wine until 10 or 11, depending on when people feel like being nice and leaving the restaurant. Usually I get home at 11:30 or 12 and am totally exhausted, but I try to squeeze in a little writing, because that's how I roll.

Anyway, about yesterday. Yesterday I went to Best Buy to pick up the new Barenaked Ladies CD. Yes, that's right. The CD.

You see, folks, Barenaked Ladies is my all-time, No. 1, most favorite band EVER. When Steven Page (who is no longer a member of the band - but it's OK, I've always been partial to Ed's songs anyway) sings "Break Your Heart," it breaks my heart every.single.time. I used to sit on my porch in high school and let my favorite BNL album du jour waft through the open window while I did my math homework in the sunny afternoon. I've seen them live seven times, which is hardly enough for me, and the time I went alone I had more fun than any of the times I brought friends (no offense to my BFF Katey, if she's reading this, who attended the majority of those seven concerts with me). I seriously love BNL. They're my musical Harry Potter, if you will.

So, to me, owning a BNL CD is like owning a hardcover book will be to most people in 10 years. For the most part, I head straight to my iTunes store and download the mp3. But every once in awhile, I want to go old school and feel the weight of the CD in my hand, watch the glint of the sun as it reflects off the disc, feel the anticipation as I wait in line, CD already in my palm (which doesn't at all compare to the wait time for a download), look over the album artwork and read the lyrics and dedications. Of course, this isn't nearly as cool as the weight, smell, feel, and look of a brand-new hardcover book - but when it's your very favorite band, it comes close.

So I went to Best Buy and, not even paying attention to where I was going, headed right for the area where the BNL CDs are. Only they weren't there. Instead, I saw row after row of Wii games. WTF? So I looked up toward the ceiling, where huge signs told me what section of the store I was in. Then I headed toward the one labeled MUSIC, which was subtitled mp3s and iPods. Nothing about CDs, but I didn't think too much of it...until I found 0 CDs in that section.

After about 10 minutes of aimless wandering, I finally found the CDs - shoved into the corner of the store by the discount movies, like some old castoffs that no one cares about. Just to show them, I picked up a Bloc Party CD, too. I'm so cool. Then I had this awesome conversation with the cash register attendant:

Her: "That will be $20.02."
Me: "Here you go!" Pause. "I have to admit, I felt really antiquated when I couldn't even find the CDs." *awkward laugh*
Her: *gives a look that clearly says "That's because you are."
Me: "I mean, I have an iPod. I just like to get CDs sometimes. You know, go old-school."
Her: "Whatever. Receipt?"
Me: "Thanks."

So that's my story. And I immediately felt like I was looking at the future of books. In 10 or 20 years, is it going to be so supremely outdated to buy regular books that young people will look at you like you are super lame, even though you're actually only 25 and are, in fact, a young person yourself? Will it be impossible to even find real books in the store? Or will hardcover books be like vinyl albums - only those who really get books and know how to appreciate them will have them, and everyone else will just plug into their Kindles and let that be that.

What do you think?

Also, you should go buy the new BNL CD, because it's pretty great. Or at least listen to this song, "You Run Away," the first single off the album. KThx.


  1. Confession: I have never heard a single BNL song besides "One Week." Not a single one.


    Can we still be friends?


    Just kidding. We can totally still be friends. But it makes me wish I'd gotten you in the exchange! I sent Susie a whole album of BNL songs and she likes BNL already. Their stuff is generally very different from One Week.

  3. D: That's horrible! I get most of my music through digital downloads too, but when there's an artist/band I really like, I always buy the CD. There's just something about holding a physical copy in your hands. Same with computer software - I feel like if I don't have the actual CD for the program, something will go wrong and if I have to re-download it, I won't be able to and I would've wasted my money. Computers crash all the time.

    Confession for me too... never listened to BNL. Awesome name though. :)

  4. Holly StricklandApril 1, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    Do you think the cash register chick knew what the word "antiquated" meant? :P

    I get that same feeling with CD's, too. Although the Best Buys in the Orlando area usually have the CD section in the same place as always (albeit a bit smaller) so I can still find them.

    To be honest, because of my work/school/teaching schedule, I have so little time to read (physical book or ebook or whatever), so I usually listen to audiobooks at work. Here's how I honor my favorite books - buy the audiobook off of Audible, listen to it 5+ times at work, buy the hardcover. So far only The Hunger Games has been awarded that honor, but that's only because Harry Potter was completed before I started doing that.

    Btw, BNL RULZ! (If I admit I haven't heard much of theirs in about 5 years, you wouldn't disown me as a sister, would you?)

  5. I haven't been to a Best Buy in a while, but I am still surprised they no longer have a CD section! That's crazy!

  6. I have to say I don't think it will be like that with books... I think there's a huge difference between listening to a CD and holding a book and flipping pages and inhaling the delicious book scent =)

    I could be biased of course--but CDs have come and *gone* in my lifetime and books have been around forever!!

  7. I really hope that doesn't happen with books. I am a huge supporter of e-books, but they will never replace actual books in my life.

  8. Sad to say, I think you a right about books. I'm old enough to have watched records,video tapes and now CD's disappear. In the long run, I think it's going to come down to economics. They'll stop producing physical books because the majority of people will have stopped buying them. It is a hard thing to think about, but before long e-readers will become as common as MP3 players...

  9. Huh, weird. I, too, am still a CD buyer. I just like cds and find them easier to use than having to rotate songs on an MP3.
    But our Best Buy still has a HUGE CD section. I hope it stays that way. At least until i finally take the jump into the 21st century and get iTunes

  10. I remember thinking in college that people with this whole "mp3" business were nuts and that it would never catch on. In high school I thought the same thing about DVDs. Apparently, I've been old and unhip for my entire life.

  11. I still buy CDs for my favorite bands (Coldplay being #1)... even if all I do is go home and upload it into my iPod. Will that change? Probably. Because I can't tell the difference if I'm listening to a CD or an MP3. BUT books vs ebooks is like ... a live concert vs a CD -- there's no comparing the experience!

  12. Holly StricklandApril 1, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Well, here's another thought. Ebooks are corruptible (and pirateable) bits of data, they can be erased with a push of a few buttons and poof it's gone. If publishers go entirely to digital books, then we will have no physical backup. If publishers decide not to keep paper books, they would be giving up what could still be a major revenue source, possibly giving it up to the printer ink and paper industry (or something) for those of us who want a physical copy, just in case.

  13. I like BNL. And I still buy CDs. But then again I still buy books and have a Kindle. I think I like variety. But you're right. There is something about holding a book or CD in your hand that makes it feel more real.

  14. I listened to BORN ON A PIRATE SHIP so many times in high school I think I literally burned out the CD. LOVE BNL and love that you still go old school and buy the CDs. I can't imagine a day where bookstores and libraries aren't lined with gorgeous hard cover books. I have a Kindle and I love it, but I still tend to borrow or buy most of my books. There's just something about physically holding a book, you know? Talk about antiquated...

  15. cd's huh? That's so bizarre. It depresses me to think of that happening to books.

    I don't want to read all my books on a little screen in my hand. I want to open it and hold it and walk into a bookstore and smell it. Can you imagine, no more bookstores??? How awful would that be.

    They'll always have to have books on non-fiction subjects that you need pictures of. And they'll always need books for younger kids--because they have to have pictures. Do pictures come up on a Kindle? Can you imagine a bunch of first graders running around with their Kindles or I-Phones to read Clifford ?? The horror....


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