The Internet has devalued nearly every cultural product.
Individual songs can be bought on iTunes for as little as 99 cents. Most newspapers can still be read for free. For $2.99, you can rent a movie on Amazon and have it streamed to your device instantly.
Yet, people remain willing to shell out a reasonable sum for books—nearly $10 for a bestseller—whether made of paper or bits.
The publishing industry, as a whole, continues to thrive, asserts Evan Hughes, in a piece in the New Republic, though, at the individual level, everyone in the trade—executive, editor, agent, author, or bookseller—faces threats to his or her livelihood.
A chief reason books have survived the price crash is that they can’t, due to their very nature, be sold in fragments. They aren’t, therefore, vulnerable to the phenomenon of disaggregation, a plague common to journalistic, musical, and televisual content.
A single literary work is indivisible.
It can’t be broken down into pieces, without destroying it. That’s why a (worthy) e-book, though significantly cheaper than a hardcover, still doesn’t cost nickels and dime—and the reason, books are still fine.
h/t: NEW REPUBLIC