I trained as a biologist, and one of the most powerful phenomena in biology is the positive feedback loop, in which a behaviour or process reinforces and perpetuates itself by virtue of its own nature. Feedback loops are seen in many other disciplines, of course, including economics.
This post on the Thing-ology Blog at LibraryThing is nearly a year old, but it is remarkably insightful and prescient: the author’s predictions are coming true at an astonishing speed.
He identifies a number of the positive feedback loops which are destroying paper publishing, at least of mass-market fiction. Here, in abbreviated form, are some of them:
1. Ebooks win on convenience
2. Paper books depend upon economies of scale; as demand for them falls, their price must rise
3. Ebooks are already cheaper than printed books
4. As books drop out of print, ereaders become a necessity
5. As ereaders proliferate, ereading does too
6. Ereaders become more powerful as you buy more books; you can carry your library with you
Do go and read the whole thing. The comments are fascinating, too.
Hat-tip to commentator gous at TeleRead