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New York Times: The Internet is a place for gifts

Bob Tedeschi reports in this morning’s New York Times that “the Internet continues to be more of a gift-buying medium than an everyday shopping vehicle.” Among other things, the selection of goods available is so much better.

While the idea that the Internet offers greater selection than offline stores seems self-evident by now, Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor of management at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been able to quantify the phenomenon.

For example, Professor Brynjolfsson said the number of book titles available at Amazon.com was more than 23 times greater than the number at a typical Barnes & Noble superstore, and 57 times greater than the number of books available at a typical independent bookstore.

It’s not just that — I did all my shopping on Amazon this season after spending an afternoon trying to park and shop at one of the huge local malls two weeks before Christmas. What a disaster that was.

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