Jul 16, 2007

They Must Know My Mother-In-Law

There's an interview in today's Wall Street Journal with Borders (the bookstore) CEO George Jones. He discusses some of his plans for making the store more innovative, one of which is teaching older people (35 and up) how to download music to their iPods.

You've got to think about America in general. There are tons of people 35 and older who don't own an MP3 player, or if they have one, they don't know how to operate it. These are people who just won't take the time to learn how to do it. I'm like that myself. I love music, but I don't download music onto my iPod. We think there is a place for a retailer to offer a comfortable environment that offers guidance... Bring in your MP3 player and let us know what you want. We'll download it for you.
The comedic possibilities of this scenario are endless. But joking aside, does Jones really think that there are 35 year olds who don't know how to load an iPod? Or, more importantly, wouldn't be embarrassed to walk into a bookstore and admit this? Now he may be onto something, because, as we tend to forget living in our little bubbles, not everyone has internet access, let alone an iPod and DVR player.

My fear for Borders would be that setting yourself up as a haven for technophobes could position you in consumers minds as the technologically backwards bookstore. And that the market for technophobes is shrinking rather than growing.

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