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Just Spent $229.50 for Digital Content - Why?
March 29, 2011 - 9:30pm

When will you pay for digital content? If you are in the information business, and education is an information business, it probably makes sense to spend some time thinking about this question.

I just answered that question for myself, giving Audible (really Amazon), $229.50 of my money in exchange for 25 audiobook credits (works out to $9.18 a book).

So I'm willing to give Amazon (Audible) $229.50 for the right to download some bytes, yet I'm unwilling to give the NYTimes $240 a year for iPad and Web access? Is this inconsistent?

In thinking about why we are willing to pay for some digital content, and not other, I've come to the conclusion that we need some better digital content economic theory to help both explain and predict our choices. We all have opinions about whether or not the NYTimes paywall makes sense, how much a an e-book from Amazon or B&N should cost, and how much we should pay to rent movies from Netflix or iTunes. What is missing, I think, is a rigorous theoretical framework in which we can evaluate and test our opinions.

Actually, I'm sure that this literature exists. But the digital economics literature has not yet been popularized. I think we about have enough books on behavioral economics (everything from Blunder to Nudge to Predictably Irrational to Sway - I hope Kahneman and Tversky get a royalty for every time they are cited), what is is missing are concise, well-written books on digital economics.

Can anyone point us to some good books and articles on the economics of digital content?


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