Tuesday, 15 January 2013

HMV in trouble

Yesterday I went to the gym, came home, messed around with some emails, went to a meeting at work, came home, read some blogs, ate a meal and went to work.

In short, I didn't see the news. So it was a big shock when I finally came home at 9pm to see that HMV is in administration. When I was in there before Christmas, the queue was halfway around the (fairly large) shop - it looked busy and solid. It was great to browse, to pick things up that I may not have just because it was next to the item I did want to buy.

And now it might disappear from our high streets, leaving large empty spaces. HMV have always been there - like WH SmithCoronation Street (although I don't watch, so please don't attempt a conversation with me - it will end badly) and drumsticks. I hung out there when I was younger, probably annoying the staff by not actually buying anything (... aah, maybe I get it now!), but finding some great new bands.

In the UK, the book equivalent is Waterstone's. The idea of our only book chain possibly disappearing fills me with even more horror, but judging by the HMV situation, no shop is safe. Now, I sometimes hate Waterstones - Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight featuring heavily in their window displays, for example - but they also do a lot of things right. My local store has a large local history section which is fascinating. It has a brilliant children's section, and the staff are enthusiastic.

I also love my local independent bookshop, which I mentioned here (as well as being a little bit disparaging of Waterstones... yes, I'm fickle!). My belated New Years Resolution is to shop in shops, to appreciate what lurks in my area, and to keep my fingers crossed that HMV find a solution and are around for a lot longer.

Will you miss HMV if it disappears? Do you shop there?
Do you buy books on the high street, or are you an Amazon shop instead?
Is there room for both?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did you see my post about my bloghop? Kyra Lennon and I want to know about your imaginary friends. Click here to sign up. There are a couple of prizes to win for our favourite stories, but you must be following both Kyra and me!

Due to the nature of this post, I may change my prize offer slightly. At the moment I'm offering a £10/$10 Amazon voucher, but if the winner is in the UK, I'll give the choice of a Waterstone's voucher instead - every little helps, so they say!

52 comments:

  1. My mum just told me about this and I was gutted! I adore HMV, and though it's still not quite as shocking as when we lost Woolworths (the only decent shop in my tiny town!), it still really sucks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woolies was never the same here, it seemed dated and run down for years before it closed! It's worrying when the big shops have problems.

      Delete
  2. Where will we buy your hubbie's Christmas gift next year?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to ask a friend for suggestions :-)

      Delete
  3. Hi Annalisa .. yes another shop bites the dust - it's a very difficult climate.

    I agree buy local and shop in shops ... I do that ... but not always possible for all books etc ... I did buy three recently ... two in Waterstones, one in WHSmith ...

    One of our small shopping centre's roof collapsed in Christmas week - luckily at night ... but the whole centre has closed for good probably ... til they rebuild in x years time ... one hairdressers had her shop there for 18 years ... all the staff had to leave ....

    It's so difficult for everyone ... just the big retail outlets - I get so irritated with those ...

    HMV's outlook - is bleak I'd say ... Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awful about the shopping centre - that's a lot of staff affected.

      Delete
  4. I am from Mexico and get my books in Amazon but I know the feeling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have homegrown bookshop chains in Mexico?

      Delete
  5. I am unfamiliar with HMV, but I hate to hear when any business is closing. My town just lost Firestone Tires after being here for 80 years. We also had Hostess go out of business several months ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are just businesses - especially large companies - that you expect to be immune. We've just lost an electrical retailer too. I'm not sure I'd want to buy a washing machine or cooker online - I like to fiddle with the buttons before I buy!

      Delete
  6. I feel bad for your HMV and I don't live in the UK. It's a cold cruel world in business. I still feel sad driving by empty Borders Bookstore locations here in town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colder and crueller at the moment, Joanne, hopefully things will start to pick up soon!

      Delete
  7. I had no idea about the HMV. I wonder if the same thing is happening in Canada. I used to go there all the time when I was young too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think sometimes even though the brand crosses continents, they're treated as separate companies. Not totally sure about that though, I might just be making it up!

      Delete
  8. I haven't used HMV since last Christmas I found the store very cold and dull and a huge queue at the cashdesk put me off. I bout the same dvd box set in Tesco for half the price HMV wanted. I love bookstore but in our large shopping centre there is none,imagine that,no bookshop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our store's always quite nice. The queues at Christmas were huge but they had so many sales assistants that we flew through. I did it twice on the same day! I really can't believe you don't have a bookshop - we have two Waterstone's - that's really sad.

      Delete
  9. We don't have HMV in Chicago (at least, not that I know of), but I think our equivalent to it would be Borders, which went out of business. I miss that store, because like your store, it was a good place to browse; I bought several things because of those browsing sessions. It was also a good place to read and write, since they had comfortable chairs and a nice cafe. But unfortunately, hardly anyone buys CDs anymore because of iTunes, and Netflix and Redbox have caused people to buy fewer DVDs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, you see I was all ready to blame Amazon, but you're right - downloads are probably the big threat to CD/DVD sales. Browsing physical books and CDs is so much nicer than seeing them online.

      Delete
  10. Oh, sad!!!! :( I was devastated when Borders closed its doors! :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is sad, and that's before you think about the 4000 people losing their jobs!

      Delete
  11. Sorry it might close!
    And don't hate me, but I've been eBook-only since I purchased my first iPad almost three years ago. I usually get my books from the iBookstore and sometimes Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am pretty much 100% guilty of buying all my DVDs and music from Amazon - but to be fair this is often because HMV haven't had it in stock. My husband has been left with £70 of HMV vouchers that apparently are not being honoured now! He asked for them because he likes to browse the shop, but again they very often haven't got in stock what he wants. Breaking Bad Series 4 was going to have to be pre-ordered at the massive price of £35! We went home and paid £17 for it on Amazon...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone commented on my tweet about HMV that Amazon are cheaper (in part) because they avoid our corporation tax, then we complain about them avoiding tax. HMV paid tax which put up costs. It makes sense when you look at it like that...

      Delete
  13. Even Waterstones is a newcomer in my life. It was W H Smiths or Breedons in my young days. I believe HMV were around then, but haven't virgin taken over?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never heard of Breedons! Virgin went a few years ago, I think that's another reason why HMV prices were high - there were no high street competitors.

      Delete
  14. So sorry to hear it. It seems like bookstores are closing left and right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HMV is our music/DVD chain. I mentioned the book chain because if they ever closed I'd be devastated.

      Delete
  15. I won't miss HMV, I was totally gutted when Woolworth's and Borders went bust though...I have many nostalgic memories of both.

    Oddly, Waterstone's in my town isn't very friendly, never have the book I want, and don't have a Costa, so I tend to go into the nearest city for books. I only buy non fiction in 'real' book form since I had a Kindle, and cringe at Waterstones prices compared to Tesco but I do buy from Waterstone's because they are the last book shop standing on most high streets. I feel its my duty to try and preserve them, before they become extinct!

    Everything is such a mess! I really feel for people losing their jobs, and the young people who won't have the opportunity of a Saturday job. No wonder we crave the old fashioned life, and teashops and vintage is such a hit! Along with baking your own bread and keeping chickens.

    I was reading the other day, as the techno world gets faster, we are seeking a retreat in things we remember and associate with the good old days. Makes you wonder where we are heading, perhaps the high street will be a thing of the past, or only available in a few select towns and cities! Its very sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually bought a book in Waterstone's today. I was meant to be buying a sports bra and got sidetracked :-) I was listening to some kids discussing Saturday jobs yesterday - they're really struggling. I definitely think technology is moving us along much faster than some of us are happy with (okay, I mean me!)

      Delete
  16. That's very sad news. I hope they save it somehow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm looking at a newspaper headline saying the boss is certain it'll be saved... but I imagine this is the same boss who's been in charge while it's failed, so I'm not sure how 'certain' that is.

      Delete
  17. It's always sad when old traditions come to an end. Sadder yet is the fact that HMV seems to have missed a prime opportunity during the internet revolution and it came back to bite them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's true - they really missed out on something big.

      Delete
  18. hate it when bookstores close--even the big commercial ones. Hope they manage to save it.


    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HMV is a music store. But where one goes, the other follows...

      Delete
  19. In America, I was soooo bummed when Border's closed, but the more I think about it, although I find sad, I never really went there anyway. I do most of my shopping online. I don't even frequent the bookstores in my area (we only have 1) becasue I know what I want and I can usually get a better deal online or at a writer's conference (and get the book signed). I hate when things like this happen, but the world is changing. Still to have ALL the bookstores go away sounds like the worst kind of nightmare, but I think some of them will push onward. Heck, most music stores are gone now for the same reasons and I'm not hearing anyone complain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my fears is that if Amazon becomes a monopoly, prices will rise and we'll have no choice but to pay them. What is $10 this year might easily be $25 in two year's time... Maybe I'm just a big fat worrier?

      We've got a great new independent music store in my town, it sells mostly vinyls, encourages bands to come in for jam sessions, offers drinks... that's how to make music stores relevant - it's not just about buying music, it's about the community.

      Delete
  20. I shop online and at my local book seller. I have no love for the big chain book stores. I guess I don't have a loathing either, but online...I have the world at my fingertips. At my local book shop...the owner hand picks what she knows is good (and she has a local nook, which I LOVE).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of them have their place. I love buying at my local shop because she has a great range of local writers including self-published ones and she's great for discussing the merits of one book over the other.

      My local chain has a coffee shop, doesn't mind if I spend an hour browsing, has a loyalty card and some great buy-one-get-one-free offers.

      Online I can buy books I never even thought existed - I searched 'history of Ukraine' as a present for my mum a couple of years ago and had the choice of about 10 titles!

      Delete
  21. Replies
    1. So do I, but it would be great if they learnt from this and made it much more than just somewhere to buy stuff - performance areas is a suggestion I read somewhere yesterday, and that sounds fantastic. How great to sit and listen to a band/singer during your shopping. I'd stop shopping, to be honest!

      Delete
  22. It is so sad to see the demise of so many shops that used to thrive. I do try to shop in town rather than the Internet but unfortunately, I think people only do this if they have a personal reason to do so. Mine is that I spend far too long on my little ownsome staring at a screen to want to shop there too (although I do, nonetheless, buy a fair bit online). I also worry about our town centres and particularly about jobs. I hate the way shops like WHSmiths are using more and more self-service tills (where will it end?) and I deliberately refuse to use them. But they're trapped aren't they? I guess the high street stores paying out more on wages than those using machines are going to be the first to go. The best we can do is vote with our feet. Excellent, I think I may have talked myself into a little shopping trip on Saturday...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, you make a really good point about actively seeking out human contact - it would be far too easy for none of us to talk to anyone! I do the same thing when faced with self-service tills - I was in Boots once and the queue for the self-service tills was longer than for the cashiers! Enjoy your shopping :-)

      Delete
  23. Well, I don't live in the UK, so HMV is a mystery to me, but it's happening in the US, too. We lost Borders bookstores, almost all the video stores, and I'm sure there will be more to close as Amazon and Netflix take over the world. Sad. I try to shop at locally owned businesses when I can, but it isn't always possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think these big chains are trying to compete against Amazon, when really they should be looking at what they can do better, like have knowledgeable staff who love films and music. I've also got other great ways to save HMV in the comments above, if HMV are interested :-)

      Delete
  24. I like my books from old dusty bookstores that smell like long time ago :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got a gift voucher for a second-hand bookshop for Christmas. I got three lovely old books - and a lovely lunch!

      Delete
  25. So many people just download movies or buy them directly on their TV, so I can see why HMV would go out of business. I'm not terribly sad because I didn't really shop there and it was generally more expensive than buying online. There is something to be said for visiting the physical store and chatting with other people who love the same movies/music you do, though!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, people - that's definitely what I'll miss most if things go the way they're going. I guess the people who work in the high street will also miss their jobs.

      Delete
  26. I'm sad to say that I don't know what HMV is, but we lost our Borders last year. I felt like a vulture when I went to pick over the remains :( But it's not just book stores that are closing. Where I live - well, I live in timbuktoo, but the nearest big city has a lot of empty spaces where businesses used to be :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, those empty units are so sad. My town boards them up and paints pictures on them, which is okay when it's just the odd one, but I'm wondering if one day they'll always be painted.

      Delete

Please comment - I love a good chat!