Thursday, December 29, 2005

Around Central PA

The MediaPlay in Colonial Park is going out of business and liquidating its stock as part of a chain-wide closing. Discounts are being advertised as 40-60 percent, with books, DVDs, and CDs currently at 40 percent off. All discounts are based on list price, not the store's previously reduced prices. Apparently, it raised everything to list, or near-list, just before announcing the closure. As of today, the selection, while definitely thinning out, was respectable, particularly in books. Still, 40 percent is just a bit better than Amazon on most items; I'm holding out for the 50 mark to go nuts.

For a long time, MediaPlay was the place for books and music in the area. When I was in high school in the mid-to-late 1990s, it was a huge deal to go out to the store. For me, anyway. But along came BestBuy, Circuit City, and Borders, all within a few hundred yards, and MediaPlay didn't even put up a fight. I'm surprised it lasted this long. It streamlined the selection, carrying a less eclectic mix in favor of more popular titles, and stripped the physical store, removing the carpet and the coffee shop. By 2000 or 2001, it was barely worth the trip, although I continued to make it a few times a year, usually to sift through the used CDs.

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In somewhat related news, the "Giant Book Sale" stores on the Carlisle Pike (in the old Encore/Crown store in the Hampden Center) and in Colonial Park (near Dick's) are closing and liquidating: $2 for paperbacks; $3 for hardcovers. The selection is still pretty strong, and some good finds are to be had -- a perfect way to drop some of that Christmas money.

[UPDATE, 1/2/2006: As of today, the discounts at MediaPlay remain the same. DVDs are just about gone although quite a few CDs remain. Inexplicably, books have now been blocked off and are no longer for sale. I shan't be making another trip: goodbye, MediaPlay.]


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