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Saturday, April 12, 2008

10 Businesses Facing Extinction in 10 Years

Entrepreneur.com has an intriguing article on businesses facing extinction (HT Carpe Diem).

Some of the selections are obvious, and have already seen major declines (pay phones, camera film manufacturers), others are news to me (crop dusters). But I think they are wrong in a few of their selections:

Used Bookstores have already adapted to the Internet age. It is true that people looking for books can find them online, but I've noticed that a lot of used books I buy come from used bookstores. And while individuals can sell their old books online, some people (like me) would rather not put any effort into it, so we take our books to a used bookstore to serve as intermediary (though the state crackdown on "unlicensed auctioneers" may affect this).

Newspapers have seen a decline in circulation, and are moving to be more Internet-based. But that dropoff is not nearly as drastic as some of the other businesses on the list. And I think there is still demand for the old print edition - some people like to read the paper with their morning coffee; airline travelers and mass transit riders need something to read; and their is an advantage to having coupons, baseball box scores, move showtimes, the comics, and the obituaries all in one publication. (We covered this topic on a episode of TheBOX)

Gay Bars is the most surprising on this list. Their idea is that gay bars would decline because gays are becoming more socially acceptable, but I would think that would result in a proliferation of gay bars, (with less neighborhood opposition more heterosexuals willing to visit the gay bars). I would also suggest that gay bars emerged as "singles bars" for gays, not because gays couldn't get served at heterosexual pubs. I think the author was thinking of Blacks during segregation, Native Americans during the Wild West, or even droids in Star Wars (wait, R2D2 and C3PO? hmm...)

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