One consequence of this shift is that soon no one will know what a book’s “real” price is. Price will be determined by demand and perhaps by whim.
The first sentence is pretty philosophical - what is anything's real price? The second sentence actually gives a pretty damn good answer: whatever the market will bear.
The entire piece is bemoans the fact that book prices now actually reflect market demand - and I am just scratching my head as to what the problem is here. In fact, the whole article is basically an implicit admission that the publishing houses are really pissed off that they no longer get to charge monopoly rents on books, artificially inflate prices, and take out a huge middleman fee. It is a de facto apologia of the really, really dated and anti-consumer practices of the publishing industry as a whole, draped in the sentimentality of losing the corner book store. Finally, if I never here the "people won't value _____ if they are cheap/free"argument again, it will be too soon.
Bits blog may want to consider changing its title to Luddite blog - I fully expect that next week will be a hagiography of the typewriter intertwined with the perils of touchscreen induced carpal tunnel syndrome.