The scarce and the infinite: Considering the Significant Objects book, and its story

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Techdirt, which has long been one of the most insightful observers of Significant Objects, offers up the first analysis we’ve seen of how our forthcoming book adds to this project’s consideration of narrative , things, and value:

[The original experiment] was a perfect example of how an infinite good (the story), when properly attached to a scarce good (the trinket), can make that scarce good much more valuable. This is a point that many have trouble grasping. They think, when we discuss the economics of infinite and scarce goods, that the price on scarce goods always remains the same, and never seem to take into account how a connected infinite good can greatly raise the value and the price of a scarce good. A hit song (infinite) heard by millions increases the price of a concert tickets (scarce). A brilliant blog post (infinite) can increase the price of a consultant (scarce) who wrote it. A sterling reputation (infinite) for an automobile company can increase the price of the cars (scarce) they sell. It goes on and on and on….

[N]ow [the curators] are trying something different. They’re taking those stories and compiling them into a book (scarce). In fact, the story behind the book (infinite) makes the physical book more valuable as well. To make it even more “valuable,” they’ve brought on some top artists to illustrate the stories — so even if you read them for free online, there’s now more value in buying the physical book to have the physical artwork as well.

Meanwhile, the objects for sale as part of our Epistolary Week series are getting more scarce. There are only three left.


"Significant Objects combines one of the oldest of all media — the near-improvised short story — with the reinvigorated writer-reader relationship afforded by Web 2.0." — The Independent's Couch Surfer. Follow us on Twitter; join us on Facebook.

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