Sunday, October 03, 2004

Amazon adds $1B to the Variety Revolution

Virginia Postrel of says what I mean: the variety revolution is making us all richer in ways not usually reflected in mainstream economic statistics.

She shows calculations about the "consumer surplus", the extra benefit to consumers when the precise item they want can be purchased for less money than they're willing to pay, is $1B at In other words, there are obscure books for which I'd be willing to pay extra to buy, and I only found them because of the Internet, where I'm able to buy them at the normal price.

You can find the author of the paper, Erik Brynjolfsson from MIT, at

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