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Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms for Finding Books
(Dr. Babur De Los Santos with Michael R. Baye and and Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, in NBER’s Economic
Analysis of the Digital Economy, ed. by S. Greenstein, A. Goldfarb, and C. Tucker.
University of Chicago Press, May 2015.)
This chapter 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.