Who’s buying this stuff?

While we were in the bookstore tonight, my wife pointed out the latest issue of “Allure” with Lily James on the cover, as we had just seen the new “Mamma Mia!” movie earlier in the week.

Prominent magazine, star of a big movie on the cover … that sounds like something someone perusing the magazine racks might buy.


And then there’s this one, which was maybe 15 feet away. I’m not sure how many people are saying “Let me grab that.” Maybe a stocking stuffer for the Elizabeth I fan in your life?


I get niche publications geared toward a particular interest. Have an affinity for the British Royal Family? There are more than a couple publications that might be of interest.

A book about a Boston University hockey team likely has an audience in the Boston area, even if it may not elsewhere.

But how much stuff is so obscure that it does little more than take up space?


I’ve read quite a few Stephen E. Ambrose books, but they’re 20 years old or more. Ambrose has been dead since 2002. How many people are buying his books these days who aren’t people just starting to get interested in history?

What I’m saying is that if you’ve gone to bookstores with any frequency, you’d have a lot of chances to buy Ambrose’s books, and if you haven’t by now, you’re not going to.

But they look great on a bookshelf.

It’s not just bookstores, though. For example, the next time you’re in a convenience store, look around by the checkout counter to see how much truly random stuff is there. There are impulse buys, and then there’s some of the stuff around the cash register.

Not to mention, there are few things scarier-looking in life than a hot dog from a convenience store.

One thought on “Who’s buying this stuff?

  1. Pingback: A month of finding stories – Bill's Writing Place

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