Organization is Key.

Buying music is so easy these days. A simple click of a mouse and one can have any amount of music at their fingertips. Thanks to such services like the Apple iTunes Store and Amazon’s Mp3 service, music is more accessible than ever before. It can be found anywhere on the Internet too! Admittedly over the last six or seven years, I’ve found 60% of the music in both my iTunes and my Google Play accounts over the Internet. I must thank Google Blog search for that. Just type an artist and with any luck you’ll get numerous blogs dedicated to a particular artist or artists. Now, I fully realize that the sharing of music or any copyrighted material via the Internet is quite frankly, illegal, but how are people supposed to fully understand or even appreciate music if they can’t access it, hear it or buy it?

This is why I am so happy that there are used music and bookstores that still cater to the music and book fiend in all of us. Here in Music City, USA there is no shortage of stores of both kinds. It’s the best of both worlds here. If you want strictly music, there are stores like Phonoluxe and Third Man Records. To expand ones Library The Bookworm and Parnassus Books in Nashville are just the ticket.

I’ve taken to hitting up Phonoluxe quite a bit, a lovely store in Nashville that’s only open on the weekends; it is filled with records, tapes and CD’s at rock bottom prices. I’ve been able to leave with seven or eight records for just under $50.00 – compare that to B&N which will charge a customer $17.95 for the latest piece Lady Gaga ear candy. No thank you.

There is also a store in Nashville that sells strictly “used books, CD’s, Movies, & More.” The McKay store is located just off I-40 on Old Hickory Blvd. It’s been in it’s current location for less than a year, having recently moved from their big-box residence this past Winter. The original McKay store was a cramped space with a claustrophobic parking lot. This new building is a revelation. McKay Used Books is a chain of three stores in Tennessee with 2 others in Chattanooga and Knoxville.

The store’s description is nothing special nor was its former location. The building, a former CompuServe, seemed ideal for a bookstore, but it was clear at the patrons felt it too small and the parking lot was very inconvenient, often drivers could be seen jockeying for any space available. When I heard they would be relocated my ears perked up.

I heard about the store thanks to a college librarian who, like myself, was a music lover. We would often sit for hours in the school library and chat about music; she even let me listen to some of her albums she kept behind her desk. Most days the library was filled with music and I finally had to ask her “Where did you get that?” “Oh, McKay’s,” she cheerily replied. I knew I had to look this store up.

Their new location is just right down the street from where my dad lives, but still the store is a good forty-five minutes away from where I live. If Nashville traffic is good, the trip can be a smooth one, more often than not, getting to West Nashville is frustrating and arduous. I couldn’t stand the drive to see my dad, why would I make a special trip just to a bookstore. I wouldn’t and I haven’t since they moved many months ago.

Finally today seemed the perfect chance for me to get up off my rump, and make a trip up to Nashville to finally visit the store.

Apparently tons of others had the same notion because the place was quite busy. You can imagine the scene: kids laughing and running, parents sitting just inside the entrance in comfy armchairs reading, a long line at the checkout counter, kids looking for textbooks and college kids doing the same.

The building itself is a revelation. Bright and clean, painted white and blue with rows and rows of unfinished wooden bookshelves. The second story is something of a balcony with those atypical black CD organizers and a small area for select vinyl records. Instantly, I knew what I wanted: Music. As I amounted the stairs with Olympian speed and agility I was quickly overcome with sight that met me upon making the second floor landing.

Now my idea of a used book and music store is something akin to Barnes and Noble: if you want music, there’s a large selection and if you want books, you’re more than covered. I dislike the way McKay has their space setup, the second story has the music against the walls and a long blue walkway that overlooks the open first floor and the rows of bookshelves. It looks like a track at the YMCA, If I wanted to do laps upstairs I could have, with ease!

Another annoyance is the lack of organization. For example I found an album by an artist I’ve adored for years, Cleo Laine, in the “easy listening” genre. She is clearly a jazz artist. The second floor music area is a mess with music thrown thither and dither.  Fortunately I did find three albums that made it worth my time, however the disorganization continued on the main floor.  VHS tapes and DVD’s together without any sort of delineation except by alphabetical order, they should be separated – VHS (who watches those anymore?) and DVD’s not just mixed together.

Don’t even get me started on the books. It took me a good twenty minutes to find Agatha Christie.  Where is the organization? I’ve never been so frustrated in not being able to find something quickly in a store. I love the store; I just think it’s not laid out very well. Yes, the empty space is nice, but all that could be useable space for more inventory.

I still buy music, but it’s so irritating when I can’t find what I want.

Artists should thank people like me!

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