Is There a “Future” for Audio Dealers

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Paul Wilson writes:  During a recent discussion with an audiophile friend, the subject of the future of audio dealers came up. All audiophiles know the dealer network has suffered over the last twenty years. Where they were once found in most any modestly sized city, they now seem confined to larger metropolitan areas. Quite a few have abandoned the high cost of a commercial sales store and operate out of their home to reduce cost. But many now face even larger threats - the Internet and manufacturers who have decided to sell direct.

In principal, buying direct may sounds like a good thing for consumers. Any buyer may simply pick up the phone, call the manufacturer, place an order, and in a few days the new component will arrive. In the process consumers save money and it keeps the industry moving along. Everyone wins, right?
In actuallity, this sales model may not be the path to the audio version of financial bliss. Price and cost are very often separate things. Purchases made by less informed consumers sometimes leads to incorrect choices - and the necessary replacement of the wrong item. Where's the savings then?

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