Postrel on Products

We’ve long been a fan of REASON Magazine Editor Virginia Postrel, who also is one of four experts who takes turns writing the Economic Scene column in The New York Times Business Section. Here are two reasons why we like her:

In today’s Economic Scene column, she writes about how how publishers don’t think cutting the price of books will sell more books, “People who love their products tend to underestimate how many tepid or wavering customers there are at a given price. They lose sales by thinking everybody will be as enthusiastic about the product as they are themselves and the potential customer will be therefore oblivious to a high price.”

We think that also able describe e-book manufacturers and book publishers, both of whom unsuccessfully sold devices and e-books at high price.

We also think that a speech Postrel gave in 1999 inadvertently but ably describes what newspaper and magazines publishers fear about the Internet:

“It is the argument that markets are disruptive and chaotic, that they make the future unpredictable, and that they serve too many diverse values rather than ‘one best way.’ The most important challenge to markets today is not the ideology of socialism but the ideology of stasis, the notion that the good society is one of stability, predictability, and control. The role of the state, in this view, therefore, is not so much to reallocate wealth as it is to curb, direct, or end unpredictable market evolution.”