“Now that people won’t be buying Hi-Def TVs, DVDs and Video Games this Christmas, we’re confident they’ll naturally go back to reading books,” a spokesman for Random House said. “No laptops? No problem! A book fits great in your lap. If the Man upstairs wanted laps to be used for computers, he would have put an outlet in your navel.”
The bankruptcy has influenced publishers and retailers to launch efforts to reach Circuit City’s tech-minded market, including marketing extra-wide books to would-be big screen television buyers, iPod-sized graphic novels with non-functioning earbuds just for looks, and puzzle books with pop-up Wii controllers to hold in one hand for comfort while getting used to using a pencil again.
“Maybe now consumers will finally see that the Kindle is an iPod for books that will pay for itself in five years … 20 if you buy paperbacks at flea markets,” a wild-eyed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said during an interview on The Today Show. Bezos spent the rest of the ten-minute segment helping host Ann Curry turn a page.
Small non-chain bookstores are also trying to woo former Circuit City customers. “We’ve recreated the whole Circuit City shopping experience,” said Fritz Menzel, owner of the “Books, Bagels and Brewskies,” a Milwaukee bar, bakery and book shop. “My clerks are hard-to-find, unfriendly and know nothing about books. Come on down!”