Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble wont exist in their current form in 5 years

20 years ago it used to be an event, something exciting. Dad would bring us to the Wherehouse to pick out two movies, one for me and one for Matt. (so that we wouldn't fight) The stores were usually pretty crowded as people fought for the latest new releases. Sometimes we would browse the return pile anxiously awaiting if someone had returned a copy of "Rainman" or "Dragnet" We were satisfied whether we got our movie, or if we just rented "Raiders" for the millionth time.

Nowdays like many other families we have Netflix on demand, and Amazon on demand. We can browse the screen and pick out the movies that we want to watch. New releases we can watch instantly with a HD copy sent right to us. And that's me, Im 36 years old though. The younger generation grabs their movies and content right off of bit torrent and Pirate Bay for free. That is why Blockbuster videos are closing down. As an aside there is an interesting other reason called Redbox. I'm sure you have all seen these Kiosks around 7/11's and supermarkets. For only 1 dollar a day you can rent new releases if you don't mind the 30 day "windowing" period. I saw one of these Kiosks at the airport in Austin, for a buck you can grab a movie to watch on your laptop and then return it to any Kiosk in the country. And it's totally self service and convenient. Why would anyone want to go to Blockbuster and pay 5 dollars? or even 3 dollars? So price, convenience and selection are killing the "brick and mortar" Blockbuster stores. Hollywood video is already gone, and Blockbuster stores will soon only exist on the internet competing with Netflix, and for a while Redbox.

Barnes and Noble has not "gone under" but they have been put up for sale. I love books and I love browsing in Barnes and Noble. But they have been seriously hurt by the amazing company that is Amazon. People like Amazon for the ease of shopping on their site, the selection that B&N cannot match, and the entire experience. Also millions of people like myself are now choosing to buy their books directly on mobile e reading devices like the Kindle. B&N has tried to compete with Amazon by launching both their own e reading device the "Nook" and their online store at In both cases they do not offer nearly as good of an experience as Amazon does. I knew this would eventually happen with them, but I didn't think it would happen so fast.

And the bottom line is this, whether you think these changes are good or bad, it is what the consumer wants.


Bible Thumpin' Mike in Nor-Cal said...

You are correct sir!

I have not set foot into a video store since I first saw REDBOX a couple years ago. Why deal with idiots that are rude behind the counter at blockbuster and pay so much when you can get it for a buck. You do not have to worry about getting it back to the location to drop it off. It never gets stuck in the drop box and stolen by another person forcing you to pay the $75 price they charge.
Now we have started watching netflix online instantly and use the blockbuster kiosks that are out now as well as the $1 blueboxes I see.

I have no idea why e-reading would be good though. I hate reading off a screen. how does the kindle work?

Garrett said...

Well Mike let me tell you, Kindle is an e-ink display and replicates (some say improves) the experience of reading on real paper. If you haven't seen it yet you'll be surprised, there is no back light, or led display, it's not like reading on a computer screen at all ( I would hate that too) You can learn all about it on

dole2obama said...

Big guy-
I remember fondly our trips to Blockbuster where Dad let us pick out one movie each on a Saturday. The system that Dad implemented worked like a charm until that one time that he forbid you from renting an inspiring tale of a young gymnast from an eastern block country. Tell me, did you ever get to watch:
Perfect 10-The Nadia Comaneci story?

Garrett said...

Only this inspiring clip.......

Enjoy Matt!!