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From Betamax to Blockbuster: Video Stores and the Invention of Movies on Video

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Joshua Greenberg explains how the combination of neighbourhood video stores and the VCR created a world in which movies became tangible consumer goods, creating a new industry and affecting the dynamics of motion picture production and consumption.


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Joshua Greenberg explains how the combination of neighbourhood video stores and the VCR created a world in which movies became tangible consumer goods, creating a new industry and affecting the dynamics of motion picture production and consumption.

30 review for From Betamax to Blockbuster: Video Stores and the Invention of Movies on Video

  1. 5 out of 5

    penny shima glanz

    I'm sure this is a very nice book. It looks to be well researched and written. I can't exactly remember why I requested it from the library but I did. I didn't make it past the first chapter. I have a few memories of going to the little video store "in town" and renting videos. I remember when blockbuster moved in in the bigger towns nearby. I remember a conversation a few years ago with the clerk that I was older then him and over both 16 and 18 (I was 22) and that I didn't need my parent's per I'm sure this is a very nice book. It looks to be well researched and written. I can't exactly remember why I requested it from the library but I did. I didn't make it past the first chapter. I have a few memories of going to the little video store "in town" and renting videos. I remember when blockbuster moved in in the bigger towns nearby. I remember a conversation a few years ago with the clerk that I was older then him and over both 16 and 18 (I was 22) and that I didn't need my parent's permission to get my very own blockbuster card and that I could take out R-rated movies if I desired. Despite those memories, I'm not very knowledgeable about movies (I did see the re-release of Star Wars in the theater). We rarely rented them or watch them in a theater. I, gasp, don't have a netflix account. After receiving this slim volume from the library, I leafed through it and thought perhaps it would help me better understand the current culture and phenomenon that is movies at home & netflix. It may have, had I not fallen asleep every few pages. This book is just just not for me as I think I really don't care to understand that aspect of today's culture. Additionally, some really yucky rainy weather did not help entice me to continue to read this book. I'm not going to rate it because I feel it would be unfair as I've not read it all the way through and my reasons for abandonment are that it is due to be returned (w/o renewal option) and I have a large pile of other books waiting to be read. I do urge you to check it out, read the official blurb and skim the introduction. I hate abandoning a book -- it is something that took someone considerable time, energy, and knowledge to put together.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Excellent STS approach to the evolution of "movies on video." Greenberg steps outside the dominant producer/consumer paradigm of understanding how a technology is imbued with meaning. Instead, he focuses on the soft areas between the two: distributors and retailers. Put simply, it was the philosophies and actions of, first, distributors and then retailers that really established how we came to understand video and the VCR as technologies for watching movies rather than as time-shifting TV device Excellent STS approach to the evolution of "movies on video." Greenberg steps outside the dominant producer/consumer paradigm of understanding how a technology is imbued with meaning. Instead, he focuses on the soft areas between the two: distributors and retailers. Put simply, it was the philosophies and actions of, first, distributors and then retailers that really established how we came to understand video and the VCR as technologies for watching movies rather than as time-shifting TV devices. Greenberg's writing is clear and easy to understand with only the occasional foray into heavy theory. He includes interviews with consumers, distributors, and retailers throughout to provide color. This is the sort of history of technology of which we need more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    This book does have a few slow moments, particularly the introduction. It comes across as overly academic at times and I think it would have been better with a little tweaking toward mass appeal. Nonetheless there are lots of really good stories here about the hobbyists who started the videotape revolution, what motivated them and how home video morphed into the phenomenon we know today. I think you will enjoy this book more if you have fond memories of early 80s video stores.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Could have been an interesting read. The author ruined that with an overly academic style of writing. At points it seemed like he was purposely trying to make the material more complicated than it was. I got about 3/4 through and just couldn't do it anymore. Thank God I only took it out from the library and didn't buy it! Could have been an interesting read. The author ruined that with an overly academic style of writing. At points it seemed like he was purposely trying to make the material more complicated than it was. I got about 3/4 through and just couldn't do it anymore. Thank God I only took it out from the library and didn't buy it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book probably does not have wide appeal, since we all have DVD players now, but the sections about early vcr owners is great geek history. I love the idea of people spending $15 for a blank tape.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Travis Wagner

    A perfect mixture of practitioner and theory at work in this text.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dimitri

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian McCullough

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rob Jefferson

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Eckert

  11. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

  13. 5 out of 5

    Billy Wiggins

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nick Orsini

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dave Russell

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Neureuther

  18. 5 out of 5

    James Mahoney

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  20. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Lyons

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ian Riccaboni

  23. 4 out of 5

    Epepple

  24. 4 out of 5

    Philippe

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chandler

  26. 5 out of 5

    Coy Hall

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eliot Blades

  28. 5 out of 5

    Veronika

  29. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Randy

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