A reader writes:
The thread on the closing of Blockbuster is missing one crucial element in the drama of big-box stores v. mom-and-pop stores v. the Internet. It’s actually a double death spiral all swirling around the biggest category in movies: pornography.
Blockbuster’s puritanical ethos actually kept small local video stores in business for a very long time, because people who wanted to rent porn could not get it at Blockbuster (or Hollywood Video or other chains). But down the street at the small place with a back room separated from the main room by a curtain, you could get those naughty movies.
What drove the small stores out of business was not Blockbuster, but the Internet. Why have the potentially embarrassing rental moment in person when you can just download or stream porn online (often for zero dollars), or if you’re a collector, order the DVD via keyboard? The online streaming services put both the big box and the mom-and-pop out of business.
(Video: NSFW scene from Clerks)