Monday, April 25, 2011

Redbox and More

My fiance and I both love to watch movies. Procuring them has been an issue for us as we don't (yet) have Netflix and all the Blockbusters have been driven out of the area. (As well as Family Video, Video Works... etc.)

I've seen these giant red boxes outside the Giant Eagle's we frequent for groceries. I knew they had something to do with movie rentals, but I never really paid them much attention. Well, we went out for a late night run and they finally made it into my "immediate" radar. I went to check it out and imagine my lack of surprise that they're called "Redbox".

The idea is that you can rent a movie for a day, for a dollar (1.07 with tax). It's due the next day by 9pm or the credit card (that you swipe) is charged an additional (1.07) for another day's rent. After 25 days, if you haven't returned it, it's yours! Congratulations you paid $25 ($26.75) for that movie. You can also rent blu-ray discs but those are 1.50 (1.60). They can be returned at ANY Redbox location, which is great because we don't always shop in the same city in which we live.

Our foray into this new technology was Life as We Know It. For those not in the know, this is in the Romantic Comedy category. We wanted something a little lovey and overall FUN. This is important. Please remember we wanted FUN.

After we were forced to watch 15 minutes of previews that we could not skip in any form, we were treated to a 10-minute public service announcement.

About dogs.

That are murdered in shelters every year in L.A. (almost 57,000 last year). For TEN MINUTES images of abused, sad, dead-man-walking and euthanasia statistics, coupled with sadly dramatic music flooded our room, our life, our conscious.

It was enough to make me NEVER want to use Redbox again. I don't mind PSAs. I especially don't mind PSAs I can skip. When I'm looking for a romantic comedy time, I don't want to watch a 10-minute death-a-thon. It really turned me off from the whole Redbox experience.

The next day, my fiance convinced me to give Redbox a second try and I got to pick the movie - so I picked one I think (as a woman) I had to watch - Eat, Pray, Love. It was loooong, but decent. I'm not going to critique the movie - but rather the experience. For some inexplicable reason there were only three previews and they were quick. The movie title screen came up almost immediately.

We then tried a Blu-ray experience, Clash of the Titans. We could not skip the previews, but we could fast-forward through them, and there weren't many. Also no PSA on this one.

So, I don't know what was up with that first one, but it almost lost Redbox a customer. There's an important lesson in there! But I'll let you discover it yourself.

Onto the "and More" section...

I went to Barnes and Noble two days ago, just wandering around after dinner with my fiance. I used to have a book (that I can't find anymore) called The Golden Key. It was written by three authors: Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott.

I knew Elliott from her Crown of Stars series, an epic 7-novel adventure of which each book is a brick. A brick I usually read within a day, if left to my own devices! I was actually looking for more of Elliott's work (waiting for the next Crown of Stars book) when I stumbled upon The Golden Key.

I discovered Melanie Rawn from that book, and have loved every single book of hers I have ever read! Now if only she'd finish a series...

Jennifer Roberson was a unique find from the Golden Key. When I was around 13 years old, I read a book about a race of shapechangers (that is the actual cover from the book I read! Haha, memories...) The problem with that series was that I never discovered anything past book 1... my stepfather only had the first one and wasn't interested in the rest of the series.

Lucky for me I read The Golden Key and went looking for MORE of HER WORK
. (One more!)

Yes, I own all four of those omnibuses (omnibusi?). LOVED THEM. Not as good on the re-read, but still fun. I also made easy reading of her Tiger and Del series.

Fun how one author can be a link to many? There's a lesson here, too. I won't make you search for it - I'll just tell you what I think :)

As authors, we share readers. Someone who likes us may also like our friends' work. The problem is letting those readers know we have this friend in a similar genre that we suggest. How do you go about telling your readers they should check out someone else's work? How do you get recommended by a friend? I really don't care for social media. I'm not good at Twitter (honestly, it's watered-down Facebook for me, and I already have enough problems with creepers on there :P) I'm trying to drum up some interest with the TrAuSt Tour, because I want to get my works in reader's hands. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like I'm eating my own tail, or the good ol' Catch 22...

Whoops, anyway, back to the original thought - I was in Barnes and Noble and I was looking for The Golden Key. The man at the desk was forced to go to the internet to search for it, as he didn't know it. Imagine my shock when he informed me they stopped printing it in Nineteen Ninety-Six. He very firmly scolded me that there was no possible way (on the planet!) he could procure me a copy of that book.


I'll tell you my first thought, "I'm going to see if I can buy it for my Kindle!" And I can :)

Anyway, this Wednesday we'll have a big name coming 'round: Derek J. Canyon! He's done some very interesting research on advertising for e-books and has become quite popular in his genre! He was the lead on the Twelve Worlds Anthology I've been spouting off about. I'm very excited to have him stop by, and hope you look forward to it!!


  1. Wow, I have used Redbox for some time and I have yet to be traumatized like that. Most of the time it's just trailers for stupid movies I'd never watch.

    We rented the new "Tron" the other day. I was quite impressed. It didn't make a whole lot of sense in places, but it was enjoyable and the kids had fun.

    Can't ask for much more than that. :-)


  2. I've only used Redbox a couple times, but I dig it. Good concept. Do they use different DVDs than you can buy just anywhere? I kind of thought they don't; that seems a bit expensive to have their own versions made just for them. In which case, the PSA ain't their fault.


    I have to disagree with Nick, though. I was disappointed in the new Tron. Great effects, sure, but the story? Rather lacking, IMHO.

  3. I stopped using Redbox because it is so easy to forget to turn a DVD in or feel like not turning it in and end up paying $2 for every movie you check out.

    You have to try Netflix. The streaming takes movie renting to an entirely different level. I bought the Apple TV and stream my Netflix movies through that. I actually stopped ordering the DVDs even though we have access to that program. We also stream Netflix through our Wii.

    Can't be beat.

  4. It's not a Redbox thing (pretty sure) - it's a DVD maker thing. Redbox gets their DVDs from the same place as any retailer selling them gets them - so literally, if you'd bought the disk at WalMart, you'd most likely have seen the same ads.

    I wouldn't care so much about ads, except now they're trying to make it so you can't skip through them. Hey, if I'm streaming something for free, I'll tolerate ads. If I'm paying you for them, I want to be able to skip over them, thanks.