Movies and Shipping and Books, Oh My!

With the holiday break and the changing of the calendar, let’s cover a few news tidbits. The Video Rental Market Gets Even Smaller The changing marketplace and COVID-19 has claimed another victim. The last major video rental chain in the US is shutting down. Just last year around this time, Family Video had about 510 […] The post Movies and Shipping and Books, Oh My! appeared first on TheOASG.

Movies and Shipping and Books, Oh My!
With the holiday break and the changing of the calendar, let’s cover a few news tidbits. The Video Rental Market Gets Even Smaller The changing marketplace and COVID-19 has claimed another victim. The last major video rental chain in the US is shutting down. Just last year around this time, Family Video had about 510 locations, but the lack of Hollywood hits, streaming, and the pandemic forced Family Video to reduce their store footprint by half. Now, those 250 or so remaining locations are now liquidating. We’ve got some sad news today. We can’t thank you enough for all your support over the years! Learn more: https://t.co/FPmkNyrOK6 pic.twitter.com/hQMW9HCcD7— Family Video (@FamilyVideo) January 6, 2021 According to Family Video, many are expected to close by early February. Their website will stay open. Again, the pandemic isn’t the only reason Family Video is shutting down. People had already been gravitating toward streaming, and Redbox also provides video rentals and are often located next to grocery stores and discount chains. In 2019, Family Video decided to heavily promote CBD products, which uses the cannabis plant. The reasoning was that both CBD and movies can relax people. I’m sure not a lot of anime fans were hanging around Family Video, but I owe much of my anime love to their rival Blockbuster carrying Sailor Moon. And when that Blockbuster closed, Family Video filled the void for folks in the area. So it’s still sad the company’s #savethevideostore campaign ultimately failed. Just another sign of the times. Slow Shipping Season Continues Chances are you ordered something to be shipped to your or someone else’s home this holiday season. Or maybe you wrapped up a package yourself and paid for it to be sent to your loved one or a marketplace buyer. However, if any of those items were sent through the post office, you probably notice delivery was slow. Veeeeerrrryyyyy slooooooowww. Just about every major news outlet and one or more local news stations or papers wrote about how packages were taking so long. Here’s just a small sample: CNN: “‘Perfect storm’ of high package volume, employees out with COVID slowing USPS deliveries before Christmas”The Washington Post: “Millions of Christmas presents may arrive late because of Postal Service delays”KMOV (St. Louis, MO): “USPS still facing slow downs locally and nationally”WGAL (Lancaster, PA): “8 On Your Side seeks answers from US Postal Service about mail delivery delays” It even has its own section on the Wikipedia article about the post office situation in 2020. The post office put an notification at the top on all the pages on their website: However, that hasn’t stopped the flood of angry customers, often small business owners who were being pushed for an answer by their own customers. Marketplaces like eBay implemented temporary protections for sellers to avoid being slammed with refund requests and bad reviews. Here’s the tracking summary of one package I shipped: Picked up by my post office in Michigan on Monday, December 7thArrived at my nearest regional facility on Saturday, December 12thNo updates until arrived in Georgia on December 22ndNo updates until December 28thFinally delivered January 4th Note that this was a package delivered to a city in the greater Atlanta metro area, arriving on the south side to be delivered to a city on the northeast side. So about two weeks to get to Georgia, and another two weeks in Georgia…including being delivered to the wrong post office. Yes, this covered the Christmas and New Year’s federal holidays where there is no mail, but this was a Priority Mail package, which is estimated at 2-3 days. Search forums and social media and you can see other packages lacking updates or taking long trips, likely because their nearest USPS facility is/was overwhelmed. Pkg mailed from VT on Dec 12. Was within 30 miles of destination after 2 days. Finally arrived after 21 days. May you be great again someday, @USPS. #USPSdelays pic.twitter.com/FYeYsihKBk— Jim Parshall (@parshj) January 5, 2021 While the pandemic has caused a lot of these issues, some postal workers blame the higher ups for not preparing better for the holiday season — especially a holiday season which was known going to have high volume. Even though the volume of mail from peak season is subsiding, shipping is still often beyond the normal estimates. It often seems to be the luck of the draw. One location may be closer to you, but a package going farther away may get lucky and get there first. One postal worker says as much to Business Insider. Make sure you double-check everything you sent or are waiting on, and file missing mail requests if something seems stuck. Use Priority Mail shipping for automatic insurance ($50 by default, $100 if you use Pirate Ship). Be patient, and if you do need a refund or replacement from a store or seller, be polite — it isn’t their fault if the post office is being slow. A Publisher-Friendly 2020 A lot of businesses have been struggling with the pandemic ranging. But after struggling during the early pandemic shutdowns, book sales have rebounded. Manga publishers were already expressing optimism back in the summer, but titles are still often being pushed back for a month or two. Still, for print books, 2020 was the the best year for sales since 2010. With Amazon at times putting books on a lower priority versus household essentials, other retailers like Target found an opportunity to boost their book sales. Independent book stores struggled though since a lot of them don’t have the infrastructure or online presence needed for online sales and COVID-19 protocols. As for national chain Barnes & Noble, while sales in places like New York City were “frankly, a total disaster“, the CEO is already making plans for 2021 to feature more power at the local level. However, some have noted that neither the online store nor the Nook appear to be big priorities for CEO James Daunt, which may be a surprising considering the current world situation and eBook sales rising for the first time in years. We’ll have to see if that proves to be a good gamble. The Nook is one thing (although it still is getting good reviews), but a strong online and online with brick-and-mortar integration seems like it should be a high (if not the highest!) priority. Have you ever been to a Family Video store? Have you noticed any post office problems? What do you think of the current state of the book market and Barnes & Noble’s future? The post Movies and Shipping and Books, Oh My! appeared first on TheOASG.