Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 06, 2005

More evidence that OA books help sell priced books

Mark J. McGarry, The end user: E-books spur sales, International Herald Tribune, August 6, 2005. (Thanks to LIS News.) Excerpt:
Some authors have concluded that the best way to make money through e-books is to give them away. Michael Palin, the former member of the Monty Python troupe who is now a famed travel writer, has six of his books online at James Randi's "Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural" just went up at Baen Books, a successful publisher of science fiction in hardcover and paperback, offers 40 titles for free download. Cory Doctorow, European affairs director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group working to protect citizens' digital rights, has just had his new novel, "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town," published in hardcover by Tor Books for $24.95. But Doctorow has also made the novel available for free download. He gave away his first novel, too, with a half-million copies of "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" downloaded. The idea is not to give away e-books instead of selling what Doctorow calls "treeware." The aim is to generate buzz that will promote sales of hardcovers and paperbacks - either the book offered for download, or the author's other books. On his Web site, Doctorow says his writing income has doubled every year for the past five years, with "Down and Out" going through five printings in 18 months....But the immediate impact on sales is a secondary concern. And, since Doctorow's and [Charles] Stross's e-books can be freely copied, piracy is not a concern at all. "I'm a mid-list author. My biggest enemy is not piracy," Stross said, "but obscurity. Anything I can do to get my name in front of readers is an investment in the future. It's no different from making sure my book appears in every public library in the land. Authors gain little direct benefit from library lending, but library lending builds an author's profile and, ultimately, their direct sales to readers. It's marketing, pure and simple."