Books and Records Prove Resilient to Trends of the Digital Age As Witnessed By the Growth of the Vinyl and Book Sections at Amoeba

Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2011 01:45pm | Post a Comment

We all know that vinyl was supposed to be long dead by now. But it ain't; far from it in fact. Neither CDs nor MP3s managed to kill off records like we were told that they would. Rather demand for, and sales of, vinyl has grown increasingly in recent years. The Nielsen Company reports that in 2010 US vinyl sales reached 2.8 million units while in 2006 they were only at 900,000 units - a significant increase that is continually growing. 

Just recently Nielsen reported that vinyl sales for 2011 are already up nearly 40% over the same time period for last year. Not surprising then Amoeba Music has been expanding its vinyl sections accordingly to accommodate this increasing demand for records. Recently the vinyl section at the Hollywood Amoeba store grew by about 20% to make room for both used collectible albums (a hot commodity) and the influx of new LP pressings and re-issues of older music.

Similarly to the misguided pronouncement of vinyl's demise, the more recent premature talk of how physical books are fast becoming an obsolete medium - replaced by Kindles and iPads and other digital devices to read E-Books on - is also proving to be an incorrect prediction. Yes it's true that, like with music before it, digital downloads of books are the preferred format for the masses. But, as with music in a physical format vs a digital one, the rapid growth of E-Books is actually helping create a new demand for books and a new smaller, specialized niche market for them; especially certain types of books like reference books, art books, music history books etc. - the sort of book that one likes to pore over its pages. Again Amoeba Music is responding to this new growing niche by slowly but steadily increasing its book sections. At the Hollywood Amoeba the book section (new and used) is gradually expanding and deepening its genres (art, culture, politics as well as music related books) and Amoeba is encouraging more of its customers to bring their cool music and art and film books to sell or trade for this growing new wave of book appreciators.

I fully embrace the Digital Age and all the conveniences it brings with it, like having 10,000 MP3 songs in my pocket ready to play at a simple click, but I also really love my books and records. And as time progresses in this fast paced Digital Age I find I value them and their tactile quality more and more. Many others feel the same way too. Brad Schelden, who works at the Hollywood Amoeba store and also contributes regularly to the Amoeblog, has witnessed firsthand an increase in demand for records. "The vinyl section keeps growing because more and more stuff is coming out on vinyl every week," he said referring specifically to the rock section & noting how it's not just the vinyl-reliable indie rock labels like Matador and Sub Pop but "the major labels too" who are responding to the growing demand for records. "There are so many reissues coming out. Sometimes it will be 1990's reissues of artists like say the Deftones that maybe had a very limited vinyl run first time or no vinyl - only CD - that are now being reissued." 

Schelden, who noted how every Record Store Day at Amoeba has gotten increasingly larger in scale, also observed how the Amoeba vinyl customers are getting younger too. In addition to those generations of music fans who grew up on vinyl, he said that there are also "lots of younger kids, high school age, buying records and especially now that we are selling record players too. Because before a lot of people didn't even know if they still made record players." said Brad notng that these younger vinyl fans "are important for the future of records!"


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Books (35), Reissues (29), Vinyl Resurgance (1), Vinyl (200), Record Collecting (23), Records (22), Amoeba Hollywood (876), Amoeba Music (73), Publishing Industry (1), Record Sales Statistics (1)