The Monthly Digital Lifeline Bill

Numbers to keep in mind

$260 a month. That’s how much the average US household is spending each month on digital services that did not exist a generation ago. They include: mobile phone, broadband access, cable or satellite television, personal video recording. This number comes from a survey by the Center for Digital Future, a department of the University of Southern California. Even more interesting is the amount of money spent by the poorest households: their monthly bill of digital services isn’t as low as one would imagine: $180. This suggests two thoughts: one, these services are no longer a luxury but have become as basic as a car; two, given this amount of money, hoping to squeeze a few dozens of dollars more per month for content services is unrealistic. Except for highly specialized premium services (almost never paid by the end-user), editorial on the Internet is very likely to remain free. European spending is lower, but catching up. — FF

Emphasis in the original.

Yeah, I can see that.

I know my book spending will go stratospheric when I go all-e.


That will end the days of my picking up used paperbacks for cheap. Even if eBooks level out to an impulse-buy price, there’d still be no matching a fifty-cent paperback!

3 Responses to The Monthly Digital Lifeline Bill

  1. Karen says:

    Yes, it’s true that used paperbacks come fairly cheap, but don’t forget that you can get hundreds of classic eBooks for free. Yes, they are all old, but they are a good read (or re-read) now and then, and you can’t beat the price!

  2. Mike Cane says:

    The old paperbacks I have in mind are ones that are not in print. Or e.

  3. Karen in TN says:

    Another way to look at the study is that their definition of poverty must be pretty skewed, that the “average” person in that range was spending $180 on what are still luxuries and not true necessities. Of course, in that income range, you’ll find an inordinate number who do prioritize many luxuries over basics such as food, shelter and heat/cooling, leading to inevitable consequences for them and their families.

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