Sunday, November 26, 2006

Victims of the Digital Age

During my Thanksgiving trip two store closings caught my eye.
  • The Tower Records just near Lincoln Center in New York has a going out of business sale. I used to kill time there before going to a concert or an opera. In fact all the Tower Records are closing down.
  • The small Millburn Camera Shop in New Jersey is no longer.
Both of these stores just couldn't keep up with the world of the Internet. Tower Records made their mark by having an amazing collection, one of the best collection of classical in the country in their Lincoln Center store. But their collection cannot compete with online stores like Amazon, Walmart beats them in price on the popular CDs, not to mention the convenience of music downloads, both legal and illegal.

The Millburn Camera Shop supported the amateur photographer with products, advice and specialized film developing and printing services. In high school I set up a darkroom in my basement with equipment from the store and bought my Black and White film in bulk from them. But as today's amateurs now have mostly gone digital, software replaces most of the equipment and developing. Bulk film comes in the form of a tiny media card. And so the friendly neighborhood camera shop disappears.

It has become much easier to access music and to take and process pictures than it ever has in the past. But I will miss the days of browsing music and developing pictures.

An administrative note: Because of a recent large increase in comment spam I now use CAPTCHA-type tests to leave comments. Sorry for the inconvenience.


  1. 1) ALSO may-be-extinct soon- Campus
    Bookstores. The Univ of MD bookstore
    only orders HALF the books needed for
    a class since they assume (correctly)
    that students will buy online- used or
    even new. The notion of buying in bulk
    and thus saving money, and then selling,
    does not seem to work now. Not quite
    sure why that is- shipping is still a cost.

    2) Art-house Movie houses MAY be on the
    decline (I have no idea if they really are)
    since people can get `obscure movies'
    or foriegn films on DVD's EASILY.
    Same with Porn.

    3) The whole notion of an `obscure'
    movie or a `hard to find' book are
    also going away to some extend.
    there was a Vidoe on YOU-TUBE
    (a schoolhouse rock satire about
    conspriacies, it aired only ONCE on
    SNL and was then yanked). It was billed
    as `rare footage' ITS ON YOU-TUBE!
    How rare can it be?
    bill g.

  2. > ALSO may-be-extinct soon- Campus

    What about Campuses? Books? Stores? How much time do they have?

  3. Don't know where you were, but I own Millburn Camera Shop and we are very much still in business.