Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A snippet from "The Age of Excess"

I've just started reading a book (The Age of Excess: The United States from 1877 to 1914, by Ray Ginger), and ran across this description of life on Indiana farms (written in 1879 by an Indianapolis minister):

 "It is a weary monotonous round of cooking and washing and mending and as a result the insane asylum is 1/3rd filled with wives of farmers."

So far, this is a book well worth reading.  I expect to have more to say once I finish it.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

There's bundling, and then there's "bundling"

Matt Yglesias writes, in reference to the potential growing use of paywalls for web-based content:  "Or to take another example, your traditional big city newspaper has many different sections. You can't drop the sports section if you don't care about sports and pay less money," after arguing that bundling is inherent in the nature of the economics of (for example( cable TV).  This may (or may not) be true.  What is true is that unbundling is already being practiced by those content aggregators called newspapers.

Does your local paper run (in its print edition) TV listings?  I'll bet it did a decade (or less) ago; the Chicago Tribune was within the past 4 or 5 years.  Live in a big city?  Does your newspaper have a book review section (weekly)?  Until recently, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post both did.  Now, the Trib sells its book review section (called Printers' Row) for $99 per year.  The Post's book reviews remain, but as far as I can tell, there's no longer a separate book review section.

So in some cases the business model is bundling, and in others, it's unbundling.