Free e-books for the Amazon Kindle "sell" like hotcakes, don't they? (as of this writing, 3 of the top ten Kindle books and 7 of the top twenty were "free" downloads) Too bad writers and publishers are shooting themselves in the proverbial foot by making content free/cheap for the device.
What am I talking about?
Read this recent article by Daniel Lyons (from the June 15, 2009 Newsweek). (the comments are fantastic, too)
Here is my fear: publishers/writers/other "content creators" list books/etc. for free/cheap with the intention of driving up readership (building the ol' fanbase)...but inadvertently giving consumers more incentive to buy a Kindle (look at all this free stuff I can download!). The Kindle becomes the iPod of the e-book revolution (yeah, I know, what revolution?) If a writer wants his/her content to be read, Amazon sets the price; "content creators" lose. Publishers...they lose, too.
I'm not into playing Chicken Little; I'm just trying to read the digital writing on the bathroom wall.
Maybe I should have stayed in DeVry...learned to write some code...developed into a "gatekeeper".
Here's the truth: Personally, I don't care who is taking the money; "creators"--save those blessed few who conquer the world--have always received peanuts for their work. Creators have always "lost" at this game. But here's a little something to turn your mental gears--the scops that sang about Beowulf? While we don't know their names, we are still telling their stories.
To me, that means more than a fistful of dollars.