Wow! What a difference!
When was the last time you visited Blockbuster video? Thought so. Zeitgeist remembers being very excited when he first saw ads akin to that of above; a magical destination for access to many, many films. Of course, the problem was that one had to drive to the store in hope that the film that had just come out that weekend had not already sold out. Then along came Netflix et al. (not to mention Torrents), and Blockbuster, like some listless Neanderthal, was far too slow in catching up. Today it is sagged with a $1b debt. Reuters have an interesting (though mostly anecdotal) article about the demise of the retail giant. Unfortunately, Blockbuster – once a destination space – failed to anticipate the digital revolution of both choice (the availability and range of films online exceeds that of a bricks and mortar store) and convenience (why leave home to rent a movie you can just as easily have mailed / streamed to you online?).
Another industry currently in the throes of potentially significant change is the book industry. The Economist recently featured a couple of excellent articles on what the iPad – and its inevitable successors and imitators – will mean for books and bookstores, for better or worse. When almost 1 in 5 books sold in North America come from Amazon.com, what does that mean for the independent book store? Zeitgeist believes that such shops, like the wonderful Heywood Hill in Mayfair, will have to rely increasingly on their provenance and their eccentrically niche position in the market, organising arcane events and readings to enhance this view.