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Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms for Finding Books

  • Michael R. Baye
  • Babur De los Santos
  • Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

This paper provides a data-driven overview of the different online platforms that consumers use to search for books and booksellers, and documents how the use of these platforms is shifting over time. Our data suggest that, as a result of digitization, consumers are increasingly conducting searches for books at retailer sites and closed systems (e.g., the Kindle and Nook) rather than at general search engines (e.g., Google or Bing). We also highlight a number of challenges that will make it difficult for researchers to accurately measure internet-based search behavior in the years to come. Finally, we highlight a number of open agenda items related to the pricing of books and other digital media, as well as consumer search behavior.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19519.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19519.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Publication status: Forthcoming: Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms For Finding Books , Michael R. Baye, Babur De los Santos, Matthijs R. Wildenbeest. in Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy , Goldfarb, Greenstein, and Tucker. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19519
Note: IO PR
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," NBER Working Papers 8271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Erik Brynjolfsson & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Duncan Simester, 2011. "Goodbye Pareto Principle, Hello Long Tail: The Effect of Search Costs on the Concentration of Product Sales," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(8), pages 1373-1386, August.
  3. Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2006. "Using price distributions to estimate search costs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 257-275, 06.
  4. Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2011. "Comparison Sites," Working Papers 2011-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  5. Babur De los Santos & Ali Hortacsu & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2009. "Testing Models of Consumer Search using Data on Web Browsing and Purchasing Behavior," Working Papers 2009-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  6. Judith Chevalier & Austan Goolsbee, 2003. "Measuring Prices and Price Competition Online: Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 203-222, June.
  7. Chris Forman & Anindya Ghose & Avi Goldfarb, 2009. "Competition Between Local and Electronic Markets: How the Benefit of Buying Online Depends on Where You Live," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 47-57, January.
  8. Michael R. Baye & Babur De los Santos & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines," Working Papers 2012-09, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  9. D'Amuri, Francesco/FD & Marcucci, Juri/JM, 2009. ""Google it!" Forecasting the US unemployment rate with a Google job search index," MPRA Paper 18248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Erik Brynjolfsson & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Michael D. Smith, 2003. "Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(11), pages 1580-1596, November.
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