To me, there's something mystical about putting a record on. It's a ritual, from beginning to end, and there's never been an occasion when I've put a record on just for background noise. Even at parties/gatherings/orgies, when the record player is turned on, people shut the fuck up and listen, or, at most, sing along to the music (if it's something like Hendrix or Deep Purple). I'd question the value of CDs, mp3s, FLACs, oggs, and all of that crap, simply because they're digitalised, easy-to-produce copies of "real" music (Only Analogue Is Real!).
To that end, if there's an album I deem especially significant, I'll buy the record. I got Timewind on vinyl, recently, after being on a week long Schulze binge. I still keep the mp3s, and have the music on my iPod, but there are times when I really want to just sit down with that album, and purposefully listen to it. The same is true for any Metal album that I've got (excluding an Akitsa record I picked up for about $5 and some freebie I got from a trade, both of which are slightly shitty and don't get played).
As far as Record Shops are concerned, when I went to Oslo a couple of years ago, the most fun I had was hanging out in Neseblod Records with my friends and the guys who frequented that shop. It was seriously cool, just chilling, listening to old school Metal, and always leaving with some amusing CDs/merchandise (I got a misprinted Graveland t-shirt there for bupkis). Unfortunately, there's nothing like that here in the UK, but if there were, I'd be there every day, and I reckon a large number of my friends would, too. In this internet age, however, there's not really the incentive to buy a property and turn it into a Hessian Record Store, since barely anybody would bother to turn up outside of the few people that you already hang out with who'd like to start something like that!