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A Comeback for Vinyl Records?

Vinyl

There have always been audiophiles that worship vinyl. It's not every store where you can still get those records. They are around if you know where to look. According to this story, more people are catching the vinyl bug and some mainstream retailers have started stocking vinyl once again. This is extremely interesting in an era of mp3s and ipods and where it's just as easy to buy CDs online as go to the mall. But there's something about vinyl records that's more tactile. People want to hold them and touch them when buying. Moreover, they're fragile, so shipping them can be problematic. So in a lot of ways it does make sense for vinyl records to return to brick-and-mortar locations. Now, if only companies would start carrying record players too.

It was a fortuitous typo for the Fred Meyer retail chain.

This spring, an employee intending to order a special CD-DVD edition of R.E.M.'s latest release 'Accelerate' inadvertently entered the 'LP' code instead. Soon boxes of the big, vinyl discs showed up at several stores.

Some sent them back. But a handful put them on the shelves, and 20 LPs sold the first day.

The Portland-based company, owned by The Kroger Co., realized the error might not be so bad after all. Fred Meyer is now testing vinyl sales at 60 of its stores in Oregon, California, Washington and Alaska.

Other mainstream retailers are giving vinyl a spin too. Best Buy is testing sales at some stores. And online music giant Amazon.com, which has sold vinyl for most of the 13 years it has been in business online, created a special vinyl-only section last fall.

The best-seller so far at Fred Meyer is The Beatles 'Abbey Road' album. But musicians from the White Stripes and the Foo Fighters to Metallica and Pink Floyd are selling well, the company says.

'It's not just a nostalgia thing,' said Melinda Merrill, spokeswoman for Fred Meyer. 'The response from customers has just been that they like it, they feel like it has a better sound.'

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