Best Buy will no longer sell DVDs and Blu-Rays in 2024, as reported by one of my favorite tech/culture blogs diversetechgeek.
Could Best Buy have saved its CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray business?
For decades, Best Buy held the coveted title of being the go-to destination for purchasing all types of media. However, times have changed, and now Best Buy is primarily known for selling large appliances such as refrigerators and washers. It seems that the shift to selling big appliances is more profitable for them.
This change makes me ponder about the initial role of Best Buy as the media hub. Why did it lose its status? The answer is quite simple: the way people consume media transformed drastically. Physical media sales plummeted as digital formats took over. People no longer needed to buy CDs, DVDs, or Blu-rays when they could conveniently access movies, TV shows, and music online.
This digital revolution, however, didn’t spell the end for all brick-and-mortar media retailers. Bookstores, for instance, managed to survive despite the rise of e-books. The reason? Many readers still prefer the tangible experience of flipping through physical pages instead of their digital counterparts.
Yet, there’s more to the survival of bookstores than the format preference. Bookstores offer something unique that Best Buy never quite grasped—an ethos centered around community. Bookstores aren’t just places to buy books; they’re hubs of social interaction. They host staff recommendations, author readings, and book clubs, fostering a sense of belonging among book enthusiasts.
Contrast this with Best Buy, which lacks this sense of community. Imagine if Best Buy had embraced a different path, focusing not just on selling products but also on creating an experience. What if they had ventured into the realm of performance arts—offering staff recommendations, classes, movie clubs, and live music and theater performances? Instead, they chose to become an appliance store, focusing on selling refrigerators and washers.
There is an equivalent for bookstores in the realm of performance arts—the record store. However, these specialty stores are becoming increasingly rare. Perhaps there’s something inherently different in how people engage with different forms of media. Streaming movies and music online is convenient and effortless; there’s no need to insert a DVD or CD. The experience is seamless.
On the other hand, reading books is a tactile and immersive experience. Many readers find joy in the texture of paper, the smell of ink, and the act of turning physical pages. E-books, while practical, don’t quite replicate this experience. Hence, the appeal of physical books endures.
Best Buy’s shift from a media haven to an appliance store reflects the changing landscape of media consumption. While digital formats have dominated movies and music, physical books and the community-centric nature of bookstores have managed to withstand the digital onslaught. Best Buy could have taken a different path by embracing the arts and fostering a sense of community, but it chose the route of selling appliances instead.