Hey Dad, How About Some Vinyl?

You can call me old fashioned. You can call me a Luddite. You can even call me Ishmael. But I like to read books. Paper books, thank you very much. Based on that, my homies at Barnes & Noble apparently think that I like to listen to vinyl too.

I get lots of spam from B&N, probably because I buy lots of books from them. They are always trying to suggest new titles that they think I'll like. Fine. But I was a little surprised to get this spam (see above) a few days before Father's Day (June 18, hint, hint), strongly suggesting that I should want to give, or receive, vinyl records.

I find that interesting. Did their Big Data engine somehow determine that I like both books and audio, and single me out? Or did that promotion go out to everyone on their spam list? If it's the latter, it might indicate that to this bookseller, vinyl is a thing. Would you waste perfectly good spam on a niche product that few people buy? Of course not. You spam the stuff that sells. So maybe vinyl is a big thing for them.

Their Vinyl Store is pretty darn impressive. I'm not sure how accurate their search engine is, but it supposedly offers 5,037 titles pressed at 180 grams, 2,038 titles in colored vinyl, and 133 boxed sets (of course, there is overlap in these categories). I have no idea if B&N actually ships any of these, or if another distributor is contracted to do the work. Either way, it turns out that Barnes & Noble is a major player in vinyl. Hey, they even sell turntables. Not bad for a bookseller. And, all this is certainly another positive data point indicating that vinyl is alive and well.

Now, here's another question: When they suggest buying vinyl for Dad, what exactly does that mean? Are they implying that Dad is old and set in his ways, and would only appreciate a record for his record player, as opposed to, say, a Taylor Swift hoodie? Or are they implying that Dad is so hip that he appreciates very hip things, like vinyl? And who exactly is B&N targeting in this spam? If they are targeting Dad's children, that implies that the kids have some sort of appreciation for vinyl, and know that it is hip. You don't select something as a gift if you think it's lame, you select it because you think the gift recipient will appreciate it and think it's cool. My takeaway is this: kids know that vinyl is cool, which obviously is another positive data point.

In any case, I hope you get some vinyl on Sunday. If not, well, nothing says Dad-we-love-you-and-spent-lots-of-time-picking-out-this-present more than a tie.