Playing on the Slides

“What are you going to DO with ALL these VHS tapes? I mean, my grandmother still has a VCR, but who else does?”

I get all manner of questions at the Book Fair, and I get a lot of advice. The audio-visual section is particularly popular for both, these last few years. Why do I still sell 8-tracks? Who on earth buys reel-to-reel tapes? Why can’t you alphabetize the CDs? (I explained that once: it’s a personal thing. All through my life, when I buy music, if I’m looking for a composer, everything’s alphabetized by performer, and if I’m looking for a performer, it’s all in order by composer. Yes, I honestly believe in LP elves who did that when I was sleeping, so as to be ready when I showed up at the store again. I think it’s much fairer if you know from the outset you’ll have to go through every single disc.)

In fact, why sell audio-visual material at all? People can download anything they want. And then my self-appointed AV advisors pause, on the brink of asking the Kindle question, and in that breath before they ask why I exist at all in a fully digital age, I utter my magic spell.

“I sold every single slide carousel I had out for sale this year.”

Now THAT, friends, is a technology I thought was dead and buried. Oh, sure, maybe your GRANDMA still uses slides, but everyone else knows how to do PowerPoint, right? (I don’t, but don’t count me in on this one. I can’t work a slide carousel, either.)

Books, piano rolls, and slide sets will continue to find their niche at the Newberry. Maybe technology has moved along, but as long as someone finds the earlier forms charming enough to give us money for them, why not take the money? If you recall the stereoscope slides I blogged about, by the way, the viewer sold in the first hour, and every last card had sold by Sunday morning. There’s a lid for every pot, friend.

(Note to self: find that chamberpot and put it out for sale next year. THERE’S a technology that don’t change much.) 

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