Giving it all away

Cory Doctorow has an amazing essay in Forbes, called Giving It Away. Concerned with how giving away electronic copies of books drives sales of printed copies, it’s a clear and amazing set of thoughts on the current publishing world.

I’m particularly caught up in publishing issues right now, given that I’m negotiating with a publisher for publication of a book. I wonder if I sent them a copy of this essay it could possibly make a difference….

from the essay:

The thing about an e-book is that it’s a social object. It wants to be copied from friend to friend, beamed from a Palm device, pasted into a mailing list. It begs to be converted to witty signatures at the bottom of e-mails. It is so fluid and intangible that it can spread itself over your whole life. Nothing sells books like a personal recommendation–when I worked in a bookstore, the sweetest words we could hear were “My friend suggested I pick up….” The friend had made the sale for us, we just had to consummate it. In an age of online friendship, e-books trump dead trees for word of mouth.


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