Bargain Books, Digitizing Economic Rent down the long tail

Jan 7, 2009

One of my friends posted on LinkedIn an excellent “Bargain Hunting for Books” story from the New York Times late last month. If you have the market now to buy used books for $.01 or $.25, does that shift tremendous flow from the new book market? Now, my children have no patience to even wait until a book comes out in paperback, but for the rest of us who have longer lifespans to look back on, have we now unleashed our own libraries’ economic value just as we have unleashed the CD collections and hard drives of people all over the digital music world, just with shipping for $3.99?

Another related item is my current life hanging out in dusty stacks of the libraries. The Los Angeles Public Library, in its struggles to keep its shelves full without spending a lot more money, has cut its borrowing time to two weeks. So I’ve been going onto Amazon’s used books to now look at a buy or borrow strategy for books I’ve been wanting to use on my research on connected education. I love WebCat.org, which can tell me which of many libraries a book appears at, then lets me click right there to see if it is available to check out. The amazingly liquid market for used books reflects well the lack of availability in libraries. A friend hinted, and I don’t have the data to support this story, that libraries are having challenges with “rarer” (fewer hanging around Amazon’s used book market) books being “lifted” from library shelves and appearing on the second hand book market as some folks’ personal revenue. Any facts behind this? I wouldn’t be surprised in that over at UCLA’s stacks, many, many books on the more expensive list that I’m looking for are “missing” and haven’t been replaced by the university. In fact, of 20 education books I was looking for, nearly half had disappeared — the expensive half. Hmmm.

All this while I’m working on a textbook proposal. Reminds me of banking — I was told when I got in during 1988 that I’d missed the “good times.”

Creative Innovators Podcast

Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson

Architecture, Mars, and VR . . . with Alfredo Muñoz

Questions: How do we design for extreme conditions and resource challenges?  Is that for Mars or...

Out on a Limb   . . . .with Darryl Hurs

Question: How can you build a rich creative life based on referrals and going out on a limb?...

Music + India . . . .plus Ritnika Nayan

Question: How do you connect independent artists and music business in India as a young woman?...

Building Campfires . . . with Arturo O’Farrill

Question: How can you build campfires, mixing music and social activism? Guest: Arturo O'Farrill,...

Asking for What You Want . . . with Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia

Question:  What can you do with focus on drive in both toys and STEM?  And what can a persistent...

Related Episodes and Blog Posts

Architecture, Mars, and VR . . . with Alfredo Muñoz

Architecture, Mars, and VR . . . with Alfredo Muñoz

Questions: How do we design for extreme conditions and resource challenges?  Is that for Mars or Earth? Guest: Alfredo Muñoz, Architect; Founder; Onteco; Founder, ABIBOO Studio; Chair for Memberships of the Technical Committee of Space Architecture at the American...

read more
Out on a Limb   . . . .with Darryl Hurs

Out on a Limb   . . . .with Darryl Hurs

Question: How can you build a rich creative life based on referrals and going out on a limb? Guest: Darryl Hurs, Owner/CEO, Indie Week; Managing Director, Downtown Canada; Director, Market Development, Canada, CD Baby; Educator, Harris Institute In this episode,...

read more
Music + India . . . .plus Ritnika Nayan

Music + India . . . .plus Ritnika Nayan

Question: How do you connect independent artists and music business in India as a young woman? Guest: Ritnika Nayan, Managing Director, Downtown India; Owner: Music Gets Me High Ritnika Nayan shares stories about her passion: helping indie artists succeed and make...

read more
Building Campfires . . . with Arturo O’Farrill

Building Campfires . . . with Arturo O’Farrill

Question: How can you build campfires, mixing music and social activism? Guest: Arturo O'Farrill, Founder, Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance; Professor, Global Jazz Studies, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and...

read more
Asking for What You Want . . . with Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia

Asking for What You Want . . . with Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia

Question:  What can you do with focus on drive in both toys and STEM?  And what can a persistent Shirin Salemnia do? Guest: Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia, Founder and CEO, WhizGirls Academy and PlayWerks Shirin shares a passionate tale of drive, success with extreme...

read more
Making Sense Backwards…with Jeremy Yuille

Making Sense Backwards…with Jeremy Yuille

Question: How can life make better sense backwards? How can we weave together arts, spatial sound, architecture, and organizational change? Jeremy Yuille, with Meld Studios in Melbourne, Australia, works with organizations to transform how they work in the face of...

read more