Once in a while a new technology appears which has the capacity to "disrupt" current market activities. It is a game changer and it is terrifying and wondrous. In terms of publishing the first giant step was pure self-electronic publishing. This destroyed (to a large degree) standard (i.e. paper-based) publishers. Why would you beg on your knees to be published if you can just submit your manuscript and be instantly published? Why spent time, money and efforts in creating physical books if most people are now using electronic reading devices? And for those still preferring paper books, then there is always POD (Print-On-Demand).
This was yesterday. Today, there is a new game changer.
Up to this point you were still obligated to purchase a book if you wanted to read one. This is no longer the case. There are three subscription services that (for a low, low monthly price) allow you to read as many books as you may possibly want! There are three companies doing this: Scribd, Oyster and now Amazon.
This is indeed big news. Huge.
Between those three companies there are now more than 1 million books that can be read for a low monthly fee. Automatically downloadable and available 24x7. Because of this, non-traditional publishers (i.e. electronic publishers such as Smashwords are now threatened). Yet, we don't see riots on the streets. Nobody is screaming bloody murder we want to pay more for books! How strange.
The reality is that people appreciates the opportunity to pay less for more. Of course, this also entails that companies will now head towards a model with smaller profits as will authors. Profit margins will shrink but a great deal of people will benefit. Which means that competition will be geared towards quality not only volume and price. This is the social nature of free markets, entrepreneurship and innovation at work. This is what it is all about in the end. Increased standards of living. This is exactly what Socialism and Communism keep telling us that it is not possible and evil under capitalism. That we need centralized and controlled economies to achieve these benefits.
This is exactly what governments (politicians) keep warning us about and using as excuse to control our lives.
The only way in which these disruptive technologies can be slowing down is through government intervention in markets. And why would governments do this? Because of lobbying from obsolete companies. If you can't compete then create a monopoly or rise entry barriers to a point where nobody else can get over them. If you cannot do this by yourself, get your politicians to do it for you!
Disruptive technologies are mini-revolutions that advance your standards of living. There is nothing to be worried about them.
Sure, some people will have lower profits and some people will lose their jobs as a consequence. But look at the big picture. Unions have been "warning" about such technologies since the advent of the mechanical industrial machines. There have been many riots in this sense since 1811 (search the word "Ludites" in Wikipedia). Yet, consider this.
World population has increased enormously since then but strangely enough employment remains more-or-less at the same level (excluding government-created economic debacles)!
Obviously that from a personal standpoint, if you happen to lose your job as a consequence of a disrupting technology you won't like it, but many more people will benefit. Not only that, you will always have the opportunity to find another job; to re-train yourself, to begin something new. Nobody said that free markets were easy; they only give you the best chance you can possibly have. What you do with it, it's entirely up to you. You are fully responsible. You are in control.
Think of it this way, you may be paying a personal price so that many other people benefit and in the end, isn't this precisely what communism and socialism demand from people? Sacrifice? Well, there you have it. The only difference, the key difference is that in a truly free market you are free. There are no bureaucrats or politicians telling you what to do or how to do it. This means that your standards of living will also increase dramatically thanks to the sacrifices of other people. In the end, isn't this solidarity?
This social side is the side that most detractors of Austrian Economics never bother to comment about because it is inconvenient for them. Yet, this is precisely why Austrian Economics is on the "good" side of humanity, if you wish to measure using ethical or moral rulers. Yet, most detractors paint Austrian Economics as evil and socially destructive.
You now know better. You now understand more. You can now make an informed choice; more control or freedom. Run the decision through your moral or ethical principles and see what comes out at the other end. You will be surprised.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.