Today’s Paper, Tomorrow’s Smithian Market

This morning as I walked off the metro, I saw a line of people standing towards a man who had a bundle of newspapers. These people were in line to buy the November 4th issue of the Washington Post. This from the Washington Post itself:

“You can’t put a computer screen into a scrapbook,” said Joyce Mutcherson-Ridley, 56, an office manager who came to The Washington Post‘s 15th Street NW headquarters only to learn that the paper’s first printing, reporting the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president, had sold out by 11 a.m.

The scenario was repeated from coast to coast as newspapers found themselves scrambling to meet unparalleled demand. Some newsstands were cleaned out before dawn. A few papers made it onto eBay (as much as $100 a copy, with the bidding still going) or Craigslist ($50, “still in plastic bag”). And some were rolled out in additional batches all day, sold to folks in lines that snaked down blocks and around buildings.”

The Washington Post printed 30% more issues than it had before. And if you go to their website here, you can buy just the front page. If you go here you can just print it off. This plays in the whole thing called value. In the technology age, it was very easy for the Washington Post to put this online, sell it in it’s stores, and even print more for the next day. This however has not lower the black market for the original newspapers on Ebay. The newspapers that are currently (on 11/5 at 9:51am) are being bid on are as follows:

  • USA Today: Price 19.99
  • New York Times: 80.00
  • Chicago Tribune: 71.00
  • Chicago Daily Herald 28.76
  • Chicago Sun Times 29.01
  • The Washington Post: 51.00 (A whole bundle for 306.99)

This is the current bids but I am sure they will get even higher as they get more rare. So even though we can mass reproduce these and even print copies off the computer. There is value in saying that you got the newspaper on the day of or that you go an original newspaper and not a reprint.

~PCCapitalist

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