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Technology & Innovation

Can Bookstores Survive the Internet?

It seems inevitable that the number of books sold through bookstores will plummet, says Judge Posner. Traditional bookstores are doomed, concurs Nobel Laureate Becker.

The traditional bookstore is doomed by e-readers and online sales of hard copy books. I use the word “doomed” in the same sense that online digital sales of movies and music have doomed movie rental stores, movie theatres, and stores that sell albums of music. Doomed does not mean that these stores will quickly, or ever fully, disappear, but that they have received deadly blows from Internet competition. Joseph Schumpeter originated the term “creative destruction” to describe new technologies and other forms of new competition that wreak havoc on older and established industries.


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