An empirical investigation of the Italian digital publishing market

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    Professionale, Informatica

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    1,3 MB

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The present work is a statistical and economic study of original catalog and sales data for the Italian digital publishing market during the period 2010-2013. Essential historical, technical, and economic information about the digital publishing industry, and the Italian context in particular, are provided in chapter II. The review of the literature in chapter III is quite extensive, and not only for completeness sake: a thorough review of the literature has been instrumental to the definition of the economic and statistical framework. Chapter IV presents the results of the analysis, through OLS and quantile linear regression, on multiple price points, of catalog data for e-books by major Italian publishers. Thanks to the detailed information available in the cross-sectional catalog dataset, it was possible to contribute a joint analysis of e-book and print book prices to the reference literature. An interpretation in terms of pricing behavior and market assumptions by incumbent print publishing houses is attempted. Chapter V presents the results of the analysis of sales data for a panel of titles distributed by a “long-tail-oriented” Italian e-book distributor. Concentration measures and panel linear regression models are used to investigate the distribution and the price sensitivity of sales on a title basis. We find little support in the data for the hypothesis of shifts in consumer tastes towards “niche” products. On the one hand, the finding is consistent with inherent characteristics of the book market, on the other, it might be ascribed also to a publishing offer based on analogy with the print market, as suggested by the analysis of catalog data. Finally, in chapter VI, the methodological limitations of the research, both in technical and interpretative terms, are discussed. In addition to possible adjustments to the original models, alternative paradigms, more in line with the economics of digital markets for information goods, are outlined. Innovative tying and bundling strategies by e-book distributors could reshape the digital publishing industry and represent a serious competitive threat for incumbent players in the print publishing industry.

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