Books Are Fine

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.



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