On the Record | Newberry

On the Record

People keep asking.  Yes, we do sell vinyl.

No, not the bright red PVC scanties for the dancing girls at your bachelor party.  I mean VINYL: records, LPs, albums, those things we listened to before electricity was invented and we could plug in a CD player

We split them into categories as we do books, as follows:

CLASSICS: This is our most popular category; in general half the records we set out are operas, symphonies, concerti, Luciano solos, and such.  I refuse to sort them any more precisely than “Classics”, though.  This is a result of my bitter experiences buying recorded music.  If I’m hunting for Mozart, the store has everything sorted by performer.  If I go looking for, say, Marion Verbruggen, suddenly everything is sorted by composer.  If I don’t sort, I can’t disappoint you this way, can I?  By the way, those wooden crates we use on the floor once belonged to Claudia Cassidy.  Nothing but the best for our Giulini recordings.

HUMOR/SPOKEN WORD: This is probably our second best selling category.  This year we have a lot of recorded 18th century literature, for some reason, and a LOT of adult humor.  I have not hidden this to protect the children.  Today’s children don’t know how to work a stereo anyhow.

SOUNDTRACKS: This includes Cast Albums, but not records like “101 Strings Plays Music from Reservoir Dogs.”

JAZZ/BLUES/SOUL: This category sells well.  This is Chicago.  nuff said.

EASY LISTENING: Once upon a time, we couldn’t move these with a forklift and a barrel of Vaseline.  Now they sell like lottery tickets.  I don’t know whether to credit Tony Bennett, harry Connick Jr., or the warped artists who designed the jackets, but the Rat Pack is selling again.

FOLK/COUNTRY: Again, in the 90s, nobody even looked in these boxes but now the good stuff sells out fast.  This is where you’ll find what’s known as World Music, by the way.

LATIN: More than half will be Herb Alpert, but it’s selling now, too.  I know who gets the credit this time.  Dancing With the Stars has everybody brushing up on their Tango, their Mambo, and their Bossa Nova.  Walgreen’s is a block and a half from the Library if you require liniment or Ace bandages later.

ROCK: Anything later than Punk is in the CD department.  This still sells slowly.  You’d think nobody cared about the Moody Blues or Christopher Cross any more.  By the way, I’m planning to kick the next person who says “Who’s The Who?”

CHICAGO: Everything from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the speeches of Mayor Daley, with stops for Chicago, Paper Lace, and Northwestern’s Waa-Mu shows.  If you couldn’t afford to buy the album your high school band and chorus made in 1968, it may well be here.

RELIGIOUS: This category is sparse, including mainly those family choral groups who have migrated from church basement to church basement for sixty years.  Autographed, of course.

CHILDREN: This category doesn’t sell well.  Not only do today’s children have no idea, but even their parents can be heard to burble, “Look, a 45!  My mother talks about those, but I’ve never seen one!”

CHRISTMAS: Everybody who passes cries, “Oh, I collect these!” or “My mother collects these!” or “My Great-aunt Juleida collects these!”  So would you buy one, already?  We’re nearing a milestone here, for our 25th Book Fair.  If I can sell just one more Christmas album,. it means that in 25 years I’ve sold two.

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