A recently revived subject by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Scarcity and Abundance, examines the ebook industry in terms of the shift from a “scarcity” economy, in which things are valued and priced due to their limited availability, to “abundance,” in which items are available in effectively unlimited supply, turning the old economic model upside-down or destroying it entirely.
It has been baffling to many aficionados why the e-book market has taken so long to develop… isn’t it as simple as opening up a new counter at the bookstore, or creating a new section of an online bookstore, and beginning to sell e-book content? Alas, e-books have proven to be much more than simply a new format for reading, as the constant banter over selling paradigms, formats, price, piracy and access have effectively demonstrated. E-books represent no less than a conceptual change to an entire world of literature, a foundation-shaking event that will eventually leave the industries devoted to literature forever changed. It is the real significance of the Digital Revolution: The fundamental difference between a commodity that was once scarce, and one that is now abundant.