Re: Creating Wealth -- a modest correction

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sun Oct 28 2001 - 12:39:42 MST

"Alex F. Bokov" wrote:
> question: "So, what business models WILL work in a world of nonrival,
> nonexcludable information?"
> Mr. Crocker, other fellow info-libertarians, ideas?

The silence is deafening. I think Damien's ideas have a little merit, but
in terms of being a good viral marketing technique they require too much
work on the part of the humans. For best results he needs to spread his
book out in a more automated fashion. Secondly of course it suffers from
the "how do you get them to pay" problem, although if the book gets
spread wide enough and has some means of maintaining the payment link
then perhaps enough people will tip him to make him some real money. I'd
focus more on the how to market it problem first.

Oddly enough, I think it may turn out to be rather hard to give away
free books. Most of the readers probably won't associate free books
with high quality, and this combined with the fact that it takes a
pretty high time commitment to read will tend to limit the audience
that is willing to take a chance on your book. It's not the same as
downloading a bunch of MP3s that you can play in the background while
you're working or in your car to sort out the good ones.

I'm curious on what your impressions are of the fictionwise biz so far?
They have a half-decent website, but the prices are still way too high
IMO. Have you heard of any sites offering a subscription model? I could
see myself paying some kind of monthly fee for access to a site containing
a bunch of books being published by good authors. The books would have
to show up on the site at the same time they hit the stores or earlier,
and it would have to allow me to read a pretty high number of books
each month. You'd still have to come up with a solution to the book-
trading-on-Morpheus problem, although as I said above the trading of
free books may not turn out to be as bad as with MP3s. If the subscription
website also had members-only book recommendations and other features
that actually do a good job of helping readers find good books then
that would also tend to drive more people to paying for the subscription
I think.

Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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