To my mind the main driving force behind the housing market boom for the past thirty or so years has pretty obviously been homeowners' gradual accumulation of books. In the ten years I've been living in London I've reliably found it necessary to buy a bigger house every three years or so as my library has spilled out into the rest of the rooms and become unmanageable. I assume other homeowners are making similar calculations - a house, after all, being primarily somewhere to keep your books - and that this dynamic drives the so-called "property ladder" as people upgrade from a flat with a second bedroom large enough to take a few Ikea bookcases to a house with a couple of spare reception rooms that can be fitted wall-to-wall with shelves.
It can hardly be coincidence, after all, that the housing crash in both England and the US began at precisely the moment Amazon's Kindle came to the market, throwing the future value of large houses with lots of spare rooms into serious question. If in future books are to be read on a single device the size of a slimish volume, all I need is a studio apartment with a cupboard large enough to contain a few petabytes or so of drive, and I have no doubt other canny property investors have realised much the same and put their now-overlarge houses on the market in a collective panic, perhaps hoping to beat the rush. Too late, of course - it's hard to outwit the market.
And now economists Tim Harford and Tyler Cowen come along to throw yet more oil on this housing crisis fire - Tyler suggesting that throwing books away is the socially responsible course, and Tim claiming that book disposal is the emotionally mature response to reaising you can't cling on to every single thing in case you need it. What about the property crash guys? You're just making things worse.
Update: (in case anyone is worrying that Jeff Bezos saw what was going to happen to the rest of us poor saps and shorted property just before he launched Kindle, fret not - Jeff went long, very long, property last year buying a $30m mansion in Beverley Hills.)