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Free content - AGAIN

In January I attended the Google Unbound conference at the New York Public Library, where I had my first exposure to the phenomenon that is Cory Doctorow. He was talking about how he gives so much of his content away - through podcasting, ebooks, blogging, etc. - and how this generates print sales.

And this is a great model. Many businesses do the same thing - Publishers Weekly, for example, gives away its PW Daily; Michael Cader gives away PublishersLunch; John Mutter does the same with Shelf Awareness. In these cases, they use a wide dissemination to get ad revenue - they're hitting a broad target, and the ad revenue comes as a result of their huge lists. In Cader's case, there's the value add of joining his network for a small monthly fee, and having access to a database of other members, more articles, etc.

As I'm publishing The Big Picture, I'm thinking about these models, and I ran across this on a blog called Flametoad, in an entry called "Is Cory Doctorow Bad for Ebooks?":

What does this tell me about his books? It tells me that when I buy his book from Amazon, I’m paying for the paper because the content has no value. I am afraid that Cory, and to a lesser extent JC, Scott, and a host of other authors using creative commons to promote their work, are training readers to place value only in wood pulp bound together with glue rather than a well-told story. Readers are being trained to expect audiobooks and e-books to be free, because only physical books are worth paying for.

Which is an interesting point. I don't know what to make of it, but I'm adding it to the soup pot of my thoughts.

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