While "The Convenience Issue" was most interesting, there is one point in Steve Mollman's article, "How Convenient to Be a Konbini," I must take issue with. (Page 17, March 2000.) When writing about Japanese customers buying CDs, he states, "The result is that customers end up paying ¥2,200 or more for CDs." Well, yes and no. All the major retailers like Tower and HMV and Virgin offer chart and other new release CDs at considerably less, often in the region of ¥1,500 to ¥1,800. This may be expensive by US standards, but it's cheaper than CDs in Europe.
Another point is that the Japanese pressings of CDs, which are always more expensive than their imported counterparts, sometimes have a number of bonus tracks or unreleased songs which, while not of interest to the casual punter, offer value to the fan who is either unable to get the tracks elsewhere or has to buy an imported CD single to obtain the two or three other songs. Add in the superior packaging (photos, lyrics, explanations, and commentaries about the album in Japanese) and it starts making sense.
I may be in the minority, but give me the superior quality Japanese pressing over the European or American ones any day.