Talk about your “good news, bad news” situation.
Wal-Mart started a NetFlix-like DVD subscription operation. Put a fair amount of money into it, too. And got nowhere with it. That’s the good news: Any time some other company can clean Wal-Mart’s clock without corrupt or unfair practices, and particularly when it’s a relatively small company, that’s a good thing.
Wal-Mart gave up. So far, so good. Wal-Mart even routed its customers to NetFlix, which agreed to keep them at Wal-Mart prices for a month (or more?). (The prices aren’t that much different.)
Here’s the bad news: It seems to have resulted in some form of “partnership” between NetFlix and Wal-Mart, such that NetFlix now refers you to Wal-Mart if you want to buy DVDs. (I believe they used to refer you to Amazon.) That’s a shame.
Will I drop NetFlix because of the Wal-Mart association? No; it’s clear that Wal-Mart doesn’t own NetFlix. This was part of the deal for Wal-Mart dropping their DVD subscription operation. But I certainly won’t follow the link either.
I prefer local bookstores to Amazon, and think that’s a reasonable preference. (I do buy things from Amazon, but they’re things that aren’t available at local stores.) But, other than a lingering distrust of some Amazon operations based on specific experience related to one of my books, I have nothing particularly against Amazon.
Wal-Mart is a different story. If you’re in some small town that’s already been Wal-Marted, you don’t have much choice, and if price is all that matters to you, that may be the overriding factor–but I don’t like the company’s business practices, and I loathe the stores themselves. My own stance (and my wife agrees) is that if something’s only available at Wal-Mart, we probably don’t need it that badly.
Not much to do with libraries, I suppose. Sorry about that; this is one of those (weeks? months? years?).