919 Brick & Mortar.


In the next 48 hours my host is going to upgrade the server Between Failures exists on. This may result in some down time, but it’s not clear exactly when or how long. I have always known their estimates to be on the optimistic side. With luck the my service will resume without incident. If you notice any problems please feel free to bring them to my attentions by whatever means pleases you best.

When I started this story things were already starting to fall apart for the physical stores of America. It’s been a long, grim, slide. The fact of the matter is that brick & mortar stores are not going away, they just can’t continue functioning with the same level of greed and disregard for the customer anymore, and that is hurting a lot of people who are in charge of things. That hurt gets transfered to the people on the floor, and the cycle continues. A crash needs to come. People need to be destroyed. When a system becomes too corrupt to repair violent change has to occur. From the ashes of that conflict will rise the new leaders. People who understand how to make a store work will appear, and bring on another golden age of commerce. Unfortunately in a few decades they will pass on, and the people under them will not understand how to lead and the cycle will begin anew. No, that’s not quite correct… the cycle will continue as it always has and always will.

Wal-Mart, for example, began to fall apart with the death of its founder. It rebounded while his son was in control, but his untimely death left people in charge unfit to lead. My father refers to all of these types as “bean counters”. Literally that means accountants, but it sort of means people who lead fofficescies far from where the actual work goes on. You can’t run a business that way;committeeitee. Not forever. Some things require a king or a tyrant to function. If you want to watch it happening in the early stages then keep an eye on Apple. They will begin to falter now that Steve jobs is dead. Everyone knows this if they admit it or not. Without a leader the company will fall into the hands of investors, accountants, or what have you, and it will fail. That doesn’t mean that it will disappear, but it will struggle until someone rises up who can wrangle all the jackasses and rule with an iron fist again.

In other news, I have decided to embrace the digital age and begin purchasing manga legally by means of various ereader applications. I simply can’t spare the room for shelf upon shelf of books anymore. Bleach has been rambling on with little resolution in sight, and Naruto seems to be building towards some sort of reconing that may take who knows how many more volumes. I don’t even know what’s up with One Piece since you can’t buy it anywhere around here. Everything I read that’s not produced by Viz has either stopped printing or the licences haven’t been renewed.

Unfortunately some content providers still haven’t quite worked out how to make a decent reading application. They are unintentionally hurting the overall idea fo the digital book, but such are the growing pains the industry must face. The Viz reader is of sufficuent quality that I can read it without having to zoom or fiddle with stuff, and it loads pages quickly. Not that I read particularly fast, but as I turn a page it’s right there and I don’t have to wait. Some readers do have this problem.

A digital copy of a collection is about $3 cheaper than a physical copy. Which leads me to belive that the actual cost of materials is very low from producing in bulk, or that the company is gouging readers because they can. For the time being I’m going with the more positive explanation. It seems to me, however, that if a person buys the digital copy they should at least be offered a significant discount for the physical media. As previously stated I don’t want them, but the offer should be there. You’ve alreadt bought the most important part of the book, the content itself. After that you’re just arguing over the cost of materials. which apperently comes to about $3.

For the record, my first actual digital purchase was Hikaru No Go volume 1. I have no idea why I am mezmerized by a comic about people playing A BOARD GAME, but I am. It’s just more evidence that the Japanese can make even the most pedestrian tasks entertaining.