Rethinking Publishing: When Free Becomes too Much to Pay for a Good eBook

The Pornification of the Book Publishing Model If Internet porn is free, what makes you think readers will continue to pay for eBooks? The value proposition is just not there. The question you can't escape is, can digital books support a cold type based publishing model and the tremendous overhead associated with it? Publishing's mask of respectability is about to be compromised by a new metric of author and publisher success. Advertising. It's not about eBook reading devices, it's about monetizing eBook readers. Amazon is poised and ready, as evidenced by their willingness to build a business by selling eBooks below what they paid for them to obtain your customer data and earn your loyalty. Google is ready, too. Free works for Amazon and Google. Unlike trade publishing, they are data driven. If the business model truly shifts from owning books to accessing them via an online subscription service, what's the real cost readers pay for free (or low cost) content? The answer is obvious, their privacy. A chilling thought for some. For others, waiving their right to privacy is a fair trade for a better shopping experience. Does "free" jeopardize our freedom to read? The "p" in "pbook" stands for privacy. As copyright law wanes, privacy law will take center stage. Time to rethink the business model. Warning! If Nympho Librarian appeals to your prurient interests, and you find it patently offensive, you are very confused. Arguably, it has serious literary, artistic and political (but very little scientific) significance. So, with all due respect to your feelings, and in light of the First Amendment (the patron saint of bad taste and novel ideas), go away. Lloyd Jassin (www.copylaw.org)

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