The end of DVD rentals

Blockbuster Closing

This is my neighborhood Blockbuster. Or was. My DVD renting slowed down dramatically over the last several years. I think I may have rented one or two movies at most all year. And that was when the store pictured above was a five-minute walk from home.

For convenience and frugality I much prefer the all-you-can-eat streaming like you get from Netflix or Amazon. Were it not for a family stuck in their old ways I wouldn’t even bother with cable television at all.

Another thing I realized is that I have done a 180 on my view of physical media like DVDs and paper books. I was a first-generatin Kindle owner and the whole idea of not having the physical book seemed awkward. The same goes for music – at first I felt like I was getting ripped off when I bought music downloads. These days I kind of like it. I have a closet full of DVDs and CDs I hate for taking up space and yet I can’t bare to throw them away.

The market caught up with me (or was it the other way around?). When that Blockbuster closed it I’m pretty sure it was cheaper to rent a DVD there than it was to rent it digitally. There are those who scream about eBook versions costing more than their paperback counterparts.

Guess what – convenience is a commodity and today the people who appreciate the convenience of digital possession of intellectual property apparently outnumber those who’d pay more to adopt a couple pounds of paper or plastic along with their songs, story, or video.

I just thought of another shift. Not so long ago I felt it was “safer” to have a “hard copy” of important information rather than a file on a computer. How dumb is that? With backups, cloud computing, and the low cost of storage I can keep that important information much safer that I could some paper. And I can sit at my computer and search for it by keyword rather that work up a sweat digging through drawers and cabinets trying to remember which “safe place” I put that.

The times they are a changin’ as Bob says.