Some are small Barnes and Nobles type places selling new books:
To an American this seems crazy. ALL of these businesses were crushed by Amazon, iTunes, or EBay years ago in the USA. And yet here they are, all in close proximity to each other in downtown Ljubljana.
I have no photo of one more piece of evidence. In more than one gas station I have seen porn magazines stacked along with newspapers and Slovenian gossip magazines. Physical pornography! At one of the places I actually got out my phone to take a picture and was shooed out by a scandalized clerk. I tried to explain that it was "for my blog," but unsurprisingly that did not help much. But seriously, an actual real live magazine! Another business model that the internet killed 5-10 years ago.
There are at least two possible explanations for this. On the one hand maybe Slovenia is just on a short lag. It is a small country with a hard language, so maybe internet entrepreneurs are taking their time getting here. But time waits for no one, not even Slovenians.
I gave a presentation to Slovenian lawyers, judges, and students about the internet and legal services and a Slovene student noted that Slovenian was a weird language and that Slovenia was a "different" country, and that people would never pay for a computer lawyer when they could have a real one. I noted that right there in downtown Ljubljana at some point in the nineteenth century a group of tailors were sure that factory made clothes would never catch on in Slovenia. Slovenian styles were different than German or French, and that Slovenian people were different and would always want tailored clothes. This was a particularly American response I thought.
But maybe, just maybe, people here value things differently. Take a look at this photo of fresh apples from the Market:
This guy has been selling apples in the market in Ljubljana for fifty years at least. And his Dad did so before him. I know there are Farmer's Markets in the US, but the market in Ljubljana is where regular people shop, not just fancy farm to table people. It is a part of an uninterrupted history of small farmers selling directly to people, a history which ended in the USA in the 1960s and was only revived on a boutique basis recently. Maybe this little piece of Europe is just more interested in hanging on to some things like fresh fruit and books and CDs and video stores.
Or maybe the internet will swallow a bunch of this stuff eventually regardless. I can tell you that a book from Amazon reads the same as a book from B. Dalton, while this guys apples crush American supermarket apples, so maybe only the best will survive.