Summary of “Customers Won’t Pay as Much for Digital Goods”

Despite the many advantageous features of digital goods, physical goods appear to retain greater allure.
Despite the many advantages conferred by digital goods, comparable versions of physical goods are valued more.
Because we cannot touch, and hold, and control digital goods in the way that we interact with physical goods, we feel an impaired sense of ownership for digital goods.
In additional experiments we ran with online samples and business students, we found that the tendency to value digital goods less than physical goods extends to a variety of products, from popular films to novels to course textbooks.
We observed the same effect whether we measured value by allowing research participants to pay whatever they wanted for goods, having them report the most they were willing to pay, or by measuring their likelihood of buying a digital or physical copy of a good when both were sold at the same price.
Plausible alternative explanations, such as physical goods lasting longer or being more enjoyable to use than digital goods, also failed to explain this difference.
We found that people with little need to feel in control over their environment reported no preference for physical relative to digital goods, whereas people with strong need to feel in control reported a substantial preference for physical relative to digital goods.
Because perceived ownership is impaired for digital goods, people may not feel that their piracy causes the same harm to their owners as does the comparable theft of physical goods.

The orginal article.