Day: May 22, 2008

The rapid approach of one sale per title

Over at Shimenawa Peter Brantley posts his thoughts on books, sharing and the future of books and the value of sharing:

Whatever digital (ebook) books look like in the future, if they do not embody the right to share, in an unrestricted and platform independent manner, they will be poorer things.

I completely agree and commented the same. Mike Shatzkin (who hasbeen mentioned here before) has weighed in however with some nicely put and well targeted remarks:

You DO realize that the ultimate result of an evolved wired world and this “first sale” doctrine you posit is that almost books will sell one copy? I don’t even have to explain that, you’ll see it in a second.

The funny think is I think this has truth in it. I agree completely with both statements. Sharing is essential but sharing will lead to fewer and fewer copies being sold. Can those few copies really carry all the value current print runs do?

I don’t know but one thing for sure, I feel less secure as a publisher now that I did last year and that can only become truer as time goes on. Still, forewarned is forearmed and reading the likes of this post and comments can only help.

Good meeting today,
Eoin