Both Upper Deck and Panini (sports cards) are starting new programs, where they are asking me to prove my brick and mortar-ness. This has got to be about the 4th or 5th time I've had to do this over the last 30 years.
Apparently, they want to shore up the actual, real stores, instead of the online discounters, and it sounds like they're really serious this time.
20 years too late.
Too little, too late, as usual.
I was promoting this idea 20 years ago --
By now, I'm skeptical that they can really eliminate the 'gray' market, anyway. Just off the top of my head, I can see an online discounter making an arrangement with a brick and mortar store to get their product.
I said No to the Upper Deck, because I'm not really interested in non-professional sport cards.
I've never liked U.D. anyway, I think they've had some rather loose ethical standards over the years, and I can't buy everything, so screw them.
Panini's demands are frankly ridiculous and overboard (among a long list, satellite pictures of my store, really?).
I'm betting that they will have to moderate their demands, and I'll just order up to the deadline, and then, if I have too, try to jump through all their hoops.
Anyway, this is a roundabout way to get into another subject.
The sports card markets inability to understand the importance of card shops, and the always too little, too late response to their demise, is why I think publishers are going have a very difficult time calibrating the changeover to e-books.
Mostly because, it isn't really about getting the mixture right.
It's about overall intent.
The intent needs to be to support their base of support -- the bookstores. First and foremost.
And they obviously aren't going to do that.
It's taken two decades for the card industry to really realize what they did.
Oh, they had glimmerings along the way. They'd throw us a bone here and there. Make the right noises.
But ultimately, either you believe in cards and card shops, or you don't.
Ultimately, either you believe in books and bookstores, or you don't.
They'll try to have it both ways, but I know they'll bend over backward to help the online purveyors, because they'll think that is where the future is....
Whereas, I think if you don't have a flesh and bone person talking to you about books, and can't pick up and glance through and feel and smell and touch a real book -- that all the air will go out of the balloon, so quietly and so slowly that no one will realize the mistake until too late.
By then, hopefully, I'll be sitting in my home library and picking books off the shelves and reading them to my hearts content....
1 day ago