Looks like it’s gonna
be mad stampede to all the torrent sites. Meanwhile, prices for the boxes
skyrocket on eBay.
By Fred Mills
Amid all the media hoopla over the Beatles remastered
reissues and the corresponding stereo and mono box sets (the latter a strictly
limited edition), someone apparently forgot to tell retailers to stock up,
because word is that the stock is, er, out. eBay sellers (see below) responded accordingly, of course.
While Billboard.biz, in their report on initial sales (“Strong Global Demand For Beatles Reissues”), somewhat euphemistically noted
that “supplies of the box sets may be an issue” in various countries, the hard
truth is that if you didn’t preorder your box, particularly the mono set, you
just may be out of luck, at least for an unspecified period of time.
Music blogger Bob Lefsetz already observed in last night’s
entry that there were “ongoing complaints that you couldn’t even get Beatle
product, that it was sold out everywhere.” Indeed, the most reliable indicator
of product availability (in the U.S.
at least) is Amazon.com, and as of mid afternoon yesterday, neither box was
available. The stereo box, which had its price down from the $259 suggested
retail to a sweet spot of $179, is currently showing a shipping delay of 2 to 4
weeks, while the mono box, priced at $229, down from $298, says 3 to 6 weeks.
(Hint to fans: go ahead and back order the boxes asap from Amazon to lock in
those prices, and request the free shipping option as well.) There’s a pretty
fascinating forum at the Amazon.com devoted to discussing just the mono box,
incidentally, including comments about availability and non-availability at
Amazon and elsewhere. Beatlesnews.com is also publishing some lively commentary at their site.
Other online retailers are showing similar scenarios:
Wal-Mart shows the stereo is out, and the mono isn’t even listed; ditto
Borders; Best Buy says the stereo is backordered, and the mono listing was
removed yesterday afternoon; places like CD Universe are not even listing the
Barnes & Noble is actually showing both boxes as being
available, albeit with no discounting unless you’re a member: stereo box $259
(members $233), mono box $298 (members $269). Of course, if you’ve ever ordered
online from B&N you know that you sometimes don’t even find out that your
purchase is on backorder until the final checkout procedure!
Do a search at Target.com and you’ll get this message: We could not find exact matches for
“The Beatles Stereo Box Set”; We could not find exact matches for
“The Beatles Mono Box Set”.
So what’s an out-of-luck fan to do? Why, track down the
booty via illicit download methods, natch! INeedFile.com, a RapidShare file
search service, for example, is showing some options… Admittedly, not quite the
same as holding he artifact, reading the liners, etc, but hey…
Or you could simply make a deposit in your PayPal account
and hit eBay. A quick check of currently active listings for the mono box (most
of them touting, in ALL CAPS, some variation of “SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE”) shows
151 sales, with starting bids in the rather astonishing range of $230 to $750,
the Buy It Now option generally ranging from $350 to $450. That’s quite a
markup for less than 24 hours. (The stereo box was obviously in less demand, as
you can get a copy with Buy It Now for in the neighborhood of $250.)
Ain’t capitalism grand? To those who think that American
turned into a socialist society the day Obama got elected, we say feh! Business as usual in the good ol’
U.S. of A.