Using Creative Fiction To Increase Value Of Trinkets On eBay

from the using-infinite-goods... dept

When we talk about understanding how to embrace the economics of infinite goods, one of the key points I've tried to make is that every product is a bundle of scarce and infinite goods. That's a point that some people have a lot of trouble with at times, insisting that some people who create infinite goods have no scarcities to sell... and, conversely, that those who make scarce goods, sometimes have no infinite goods to give away with them. While it may be a bit more complicated to separate out the scarce and infinite goods, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

Parker writes in to point out a fascinating example. Apparently a group of fiction writers are experimenting with selling physical goods on eBay with fictional stories given away "free" in the description. The project is called Significant Objects, and involves a bunch of fiction writers purchasing random trinkets, and then coming up with a neat story to go with them. The post at io9 notes that some stories seem better than others at increasing the auction bids, but points out that: "If Rosenfeld's success is any indication, these authors may actually get paid more for short fiction on eBay than they would at most publications."

Again, some will incorrectly claim that we're saying that fiction writers should start selling crap on eBay, but that's not it at all. This is just one (fun) example of many of content creators smartly using infinite goods (the stories) to make a scarce good (the trinket) more valuable, and putting in place a business model to profit from it. Once again, we learn that creativity knows no bounds, not just in creating content, but in playing around with new business models.

Filed Under: auctions, business models, fiction, infinite goods, scarce goods, significant objects, trinkets, writers
Companies: ebay

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  1. identicon
    Scott Walker, 9 Jul 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Bill Rider and Scare

    If you approach it from the standpoint of physical goods are scarce (i.e., can't be infinitely reproduced) and digital goods are infinite (i.e., reproduction is cheap and easy), then the story falls under the infinite category and the trinket falls under the scarce category.

    Reproduction of scarce goods require inputs (time, energy, money, raw goods, etc.) and don't scale well. Reproduction of infinite goods is a fraction of the cost of the original.

    I always approach it from physical/scarce v. digital/infinite.

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