2016 | 1 (9) | 116-135
Article title

Ekonomiczne znaczenie procesu wirtualizacji książek

Title variants
Economic importance of books virtualization process
Languages of publication
This article is an attempt to determine the economic consequences of books virtualization. The paper has been dealt with the problem of dissemination of electronic books (e-books) and the implications of this fact for consumers and producers. The realization of this goal is accompanied by a hypothesis according towhich virtualization leads to the displacement of traditional information goods, including those with physical form, like regular books. Research area is a global publishing market whose value is estimated at 151 billion USD. At so high value every change in the book’s form leads to far-reaching repercussions on secondary markets, connected with production’s factors associated with them. A considered change is virtualization of books, which means the separation of content from the reader there. This means separating the production process into two, that is media, the relevant e-book, and an e-reader, so a device to play it. It is a production model that has been used to other information goods, particularly music and movies. For the changes were made possible both consumers and producers need to recognize that the choice of e-books is more preferred for them. In order to explain the behavior of consumers the cause of “switch” from the consumption of traditional books to e-books has to be explained. The explanation is based on the comparison of consumption of cost of traditional books and e-books, which allows to determine the breakpoint beyond which the consumption of the e-book is more favorable. For the other side of the market, which is made up of e-book’s producers (in fact reproducers), the discussion based on production process of information goods. This allowed to show the benefits of the fact that the marginal cost of reproduction of e-books is very low, close to zero, which is characteristic of information goods, compounded by their virtualization. The presentation of nature of e-books’ production process and their redistribution over the Internet, shows the possibility of reduction of the entities from the supply chain. In order to present the value of profits from the shorting the supply chain, prices of regular and electronic books were analyzed. For that purpose data from online bookstores like and were used. Using comparative analysis, it was found that the prices on the US market were not diametrically different. On the Polish market they rise approximately 34%, which is related to the stage of market development. The summary of investigations at both levels allowed to conclude that the development of the e-book market could be more beneficial for both consumers and producers. The analyses abstracted from the institutional factors. For this reason, at the end of the discussion the problematic issues related to cultural factors, not-market e-books exchange and social benefits and costs were highlighted. In conclusion, proposals for potential crowding out regular books by electronic ones were put forward. It should be presumed that if any conditions laid down in the article happen, the expansion of the e-book market will follow. However, problematic issues will act as a limiter, which does not allow for the complete removal of traditional books.
Physical description
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Publication order reference
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