Mediated Book, The

Networks, the Internet, and Cloud Computing, Internet and Media and Content

Article Snapshot


Randal Picker


Conference presentation/paper, GMU/Microsoft Conference on the Law & Economics of Innovation, May 8, 2009


This paper looks at how technology is changing the book business.

Policy Relevance

In the future, book publishing is likely to be funded in part by advertising.

Main Points

  • Two new technology-based products, Google’s Book Search and Amazon’s Kindle, mark a significant change in the way the books business works.

  • With the Kindle, books now come with a license that permits Amazon change the terms of the service, upgrade software, and so on. The product will continue to change after the consumer brings it home.

  • With Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, the cost of producing books dropped drastically for publishers, but not for the reader who owned a copy of the book.
    • Photocopiers made copying easier, but copying entire works is still cumbersome.
    • The Internet makes copying so easy, that copyright for some kind of works like music is threatened.

  • The Internet will allow books to be printed on demand.

  • Over the past several decades, fewer and fewer advertising dollars have been channeled into printed works. Ads in traditional printed works quickly become outdated.

  • Now advertising in books can be timely or updated. This will make a new source of funding available to book publishers.

Get The Article

Find the full article online

Search for Full Article