This last weekend I went to a local used music/movie/video game store just to browse. I ended up walking out with seasons 1-3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Blu-Ray and some other things. I knew season 4 was out and wanted to pick that up also, so I went to Amazon.
Season 3 I purchased used for $30.00. Season 4 I purchased new for 32.00. If I had known the difference would have been that close I wouldn’t have purchased it used. We have known for a while that Amazon is hurting traditional brick and mortar stores. Wal-Mart can’t match the margins that Amazon is working from. Normally though I would get a movie much cheaper at the used store than Wal-Mart. You do run into the instant gratification tax though.
I received the instant gratification of having the seasons in my hand on Sunday. I haven’t watched them yet, but I have them. When I get home tomorrow season 4 will be waiting for me. From a usage stand point I gained nothing by buying it from the used store. I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon. That I find crazy.
The used store should sell significantly below the new Amazon price. When they take merchandise into the store, just offer the seller a lower amount than they did in the past. These good are almost ephemeral now. So many people are watching movies via streaming or music via MP3 – physical copies aren’t worth what they once were. I’m not saying that physical copies don’t have more value – they just don’t have convenience.
That all being said this is also a niche market. Amazon isn’t going to put collector and antique stores out of business. These are things that you normally can’t get in bulk or are extremely jacked up on Amazon. Even Ebay at is height couldn’t put these stores out of business. So there is a market and a business model for them. The instant gratification of needing it now will eventually slip away. If I had wanted the movie today it would have cost me only $6.00 more than I paid for the previous season. Insane. That however is the world now.
As a side rant, why can’t I go to the flea market and get “cheap” comics anymore? When I was young I used to be able to get 10 for a dollar. Even with inflation accounted for .50 apiece would be expensive, but still cheaper than what they are offering. Everything now is 2.00 to cover price. All I want to do is give my son some comics, but it’s a pricey investment these days for something he will tear (we’ll work on that as he gets older).