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Pirate Yourself, Become a Best-Seller

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the old-time-religion dept.

Books 288

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "It sounds like a dotcom-era business plan: 1) give it away, 2) ???, 3) make pots of money. Author Paulo 'Pirate' Coelho leapt out of obscurity and onto the best-seller list by giving away his books on the Net. The best-selling author of 'The Alchemist' will even help you pirate his books via his blog. His publishers were not pleased, but then his books went from selling 1,000 copies to 100,000 and then over a million. He gives special credit to pirate translators who are making his work accessible to a wider audience and convincing more people to read his book."

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I for one (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180602)

Welcome our new pirate author overlords.

In piratese... (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180770)

It's spelled authaaaaaar.

Re:In piratese... (5, Funny)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181024)

It's spelled authaaaaaar.
Fool, know you nothing of pirate linguistics? You extend the consonants, not the vowels!!! it's "autharrrrrrr" !

Re:In piratese... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181506)

Fool
Know ye nothin' of insultin', you lily-livered, muck-swabbin', chum bucket eatin', son of a scurvied land lubbin' dog?

Re:I for one (4, Interesting)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180786)

Is it really "piracy" if the author is the one doing the distribution? Not that I know if he's the one holding the copyright, but even so?

I'm just really tired of the lumping together of all kinds of filesharing under the heading "piracy".

Re:I for one (5, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181012)

Shiver me timbers! Yarr, it oin't piracy unless thar's blood spilled, matey. We pirates don't infrinege copyright, we rape pillage and plunder and drink gallons of rum.

Stupid copyright infringers don't even steal, they're in trouble for giving shit away. We REAL pirates don't give nothin' away, we cut yer throat and keep it ourselves. Now get your arsse on that plank, yer gettin' keel hauled.

While I got you here, I'm feedin' ya some Spam [slashdot.org] since thar ain't no real meat today. Now tell me before I run ya through, should I find a publisher for The Paxil Diaries [kuro5hin.org] ?

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181174)

Thank you dear pirate, sir, both for the nice spam and the very graphic description of the differences between piracy, copyright infringement and filesharing. Oh, and definately find a publisher.

Now please would you let me off this plank?

Re:I for one (1)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181462)

i'll take a rum over here, please. /pirate //arrrr!

Re:I for one (2, Insightful)

damienl451 (841528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181186)

I concur. The problem with piracy is not that works are copied, but that they are without the author's permission. It is really rooted in a false sense of entitlement, the idea that there is a "right" to read/listen to a particular work, regardless of what the author's views on the matter are. I, for one, remain convinced that someone who spends countless days working on something deserves to be compensated for his labor *if he so chooses*. I have no right to demand that he give it away for free or cheaper than he intends. I do, however, have to ability not to buy said work, thereby expressing my discontent, and, if enough potential customers do likewise, prices will go down.

Re:I for one (5, Insightful)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181254)

How about libraries? How do these fit in with your theory of "if you want it, you need to pay for it"? And what is the difference, if any, between loaning a book from a library and downloading it off the Internet?

As an aside, my local library now has e-books as well as audiobooks and music available over the Internet for anyone with a library card.

He's not the only one... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180614)

These guys [s2games.com] recently released their newest game as a free download, with a $30 charge to register an account to play it online. Both this and TFA are exactly what us slashdotters have been telling people to do for a long while now, and it appears to be working (S2 claims they are "very impressed" with initial sales figures).

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with S2, nor am I a fan of their game, just their business model.

Effective by design (3, Insightful)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180772)

Such a strategy is effective by design. This is the problem with businessmen. They think they are so clever with everything they do from abusing imaginary property and patents to cutting costs in quality, but they're actually making less money than a smarter person (who can be ungreedy, or just as greedy) would. Every time a businessman smiles after cutting some cost or forcing someone to pay more does because he's too stupid to realize what he has lost.

Tag effectivebydesign

Re:Effective by design (4, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181054)

Although it doesn't have to do with books or piracy, Ian Rogers has an interesting speech [fistfulayen.com] about "effective by design." His mantra is similar- those who embrace the scalability of the web instead of try to create scarcity will be the ones that profit.

I feel it isn't ground breaking, but his little thing on physics really put into words what I've been feeling for a long time. Worth a read.

Re:He's not the only one... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181058)

Wow, that game looks pretty good. I'll definitely be downloading that tonight.

Re:He's not the only one... (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181218)

It's great, kind of a mixture between a resource-based strategy game and a FPS... one master player controlling gathering of resources and directing strategy from above while other (real) people control the grunts and the soldiers from a first person perspective. Very innovative.

Re:He's not the only one... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181330)

Sounds like a great concept. I've always hate the fact that the grunts in most RTS games do stupid things like run right into gunfire, or fail to run away from a tank that drives right over them. There is no way a tank should be able to kill a human when the person sees it coming.

Re:He's not the only one... (3, Insightful)

Darthmalt (775250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181394)

At the very least this will get more people to look at their game. I've never heard of this one before but as soon as I saw it was free I decided to dl and try it. Maybe Ill get hooked and buy it or maybe ill get bored and delete it. Either way I haven't lost anything and they've gained a potential sale from someone who would never have even looked at the game before.

How long have we been saying it? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180640)

Over and over and over again; We've stated that we believe that it doesn't matter if we can get it for free or not. What matters is that we like it. And in the cases of books, movies and music, if we love it, we will want to buy a copy to place on our shelves!

I have yet to meet anyone with enormous digital collections of copyrighted works that didn't also have enormous physical collections of copyrighted works.

This is yet another clear illustration of what really drives the consumer and forgetting about lawyers trying to justify their existence, let the MARKETERS take notice that this is most likely to be a very successful business model for the future.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180728)

I know tons of people. I know people with 20 GB of MP3s who don't own a single CD. I know people with spindle after spindle of burned movies who haven't bought a single DVD in their lives. I also know people who have downloaded tons of stuff but also buy a lot, and I've met people who have tons of bought stuff but don't download anything. And then there's people who are too wrapped up in something else, and don't read, listen to music, or watch movies, at least not unless it's broadcast on TV/Radio. I think that artists giving away their stuff for free, or asking for whatever the consumer thinks is a good price is a good thing, and will help them get noticed more easily. However, don't kid yourself into thinking that everyone will pay. There will always be people who will not pay. But I don't think the artists are losing much from those people anyway.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180818)

Dude, we've stated that we believe it! Who are you to argue with what we've stated that we believe?

Re:How long have we been saying it? (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180870)

But I don't think the artists are losing much from those people anyway.
Exactly. You can't get blood from a stone, and a hoarder of movies/mp3s is going to do his hoarding. I grew up with a father who dubbed every movie that we rented and almost every movie that came onto HBO, almost reflexively. It was an impressive collection - almost never used, and one that ultimately cost the studios absolutely nothing.

I think that the reason CD sales have taken such a dive is that single sales have made a comeback. People have complained for a long time that albums only contain one or two good songs. Buying those two songs as CD singles would have cost as much as the whole album, but now you can get both singles for $2 via a number of sources. It doesn't take a genius to see how going from a $15 sale to a $2 or maybe $3 sale is going to hurt the industry. When they attack piracy they are not addressing the problem. Hell, if I ever felt the slightest shred of guilt in pirating, the industry sure has cured that!

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181092)

I grew up with a father who dubbed every movie that we rented and almost every movie that came onto HBO, almost reflexively. It was an impressive collection - almost never used, and one that ultimately cost the studios absolutely nothing.

Patty? Is that you? [kuro5hin.org]

-mcgrew
(No spam for YOU!)

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

Melbourne Pete (1204418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181380)

Hell, if I ever felt the slightest shred of guilt in pirating, the industry sure has cured that!

I know what you mean. My bank charged my elderly mother overdraw fees on an account that they themselves overdrew with their other fees - fees on fees if you will. The whole thing has certainly changed my view of the heist I did last month I can tell you!

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181126)

I'm one of those people...sorta The problem is, I can't stand spending the outrageous $15 on a cd, when I only like 2 or 3 tracks off of it. I also hate iTunes, so I don't do that. I like to download CDs, listen to them, and if it seems that I like MOST of the songs on the album, I'll usually go out and purchase it (and rip it at a higher quality that I downloaded it, then usually just throw it away). There aren't many CDs like that, however.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181298)

I can't stand the price of music either. That's why I get most of my music on eMusic. There's not a lot of big name bands, so you miss out on quite a bit of music. However, I have no problem filling my monthly quota of 50 songs. In the end, I pay about $4 for a CD worth of songs, or 30 cents a song. I don't mind missing out on the big name bands when it means I'm only paying a small fraction of what most other people pay for music.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181248)

I'm one of those guys that has a mp3 collection but would never buy a lot of CD's. Not more than I do now anyway. I would copy kassette tapes if this were set in the 80's. Or I would borrow cd's or lp's from friends, or just listen to the damn radio, which I usually do at work (and sometimes at home).

Did EVERYONE buy records in the 80's? No. Should everyone do it now? RIAA thinks every time you listen to a mp3 you are screwing them on money. No you're not. You're just not listening to the radio as much as you used to.

In my case this does not go for all media. I do buy lots of dvd movies, but I usually download them first to see if they're worth a damn. I would never buy new movies if I didn't know they were great value to me because frankly I'm not gonna spend ~20 euros on something I don't know if it's good or not. And even if I had a good movie theatre around (which I don't), I couldn't afford to watch all movies I'd like. If I couldn't download, I wouldn't buy so many new movies. It's just a fact. I would buy the old movies still which I concider classics, but that's another story because the movie companies probably aren't making much profit on those movies anyway.

Mr. Anonymous

Re:How long have we been saying it? (2, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181290)

RIAA thinks every time you listen to a mp3 you are screwing them on money. No you're not. You're just not listening to the radio as much as you used to.

That's more of an oblique way to screw them on money, since they get paid royalties for each play on the radio. Fewer radio listeners drives down advertising rates and radio revenues, and creates downward pressure on royalties.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (2, Interesting)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180758)

Hear Hear! I agree... I know a guy... who knows a guy.... that when this certain fellah downloads a song illegally and likes it, will hop onto Amazon and purchase it/the album. If he doesn't, to the trash it shall go (why waste my precious megabytes.. er.. his?) This is just a friend of a friend though....

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180784)

"I have yet to meet anyone with enormous digital collections of copyrighted works that didn't also have enormous physical collections of copyrighted works."

Well, I have. I don't agree with it, but there are certainly a lot of teenagers out there who regularly download gigabytes of music (some of which no doubt they will never even listen to) without the slightest intention of ever buying any. Of course a couple of the main people that I am thinking of are Canadian and the laws for downloading music are a bit different over there. I also know a girl who always seems amazingly proud of the fact that her family can get knockoff DVDs of films that aren't even out in the cinema yet. Some people are just stupid and revel in the fact that they are getting something for nothing. I, like you, prefer to have a physical copy of my music both as a backup and so that I can play music in me car :P What this guy did does prove though that a lot of people do have a sense of decency - either that or that paper copies of books are a lot easier to read than digital ones ;)

Re:How long have we been saying it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181018)

"but there are certainly a lot of teenagers"

Stop right there. Teenagers don't have a lot of money to begin with. When they will work, they will buy, just like we are doing right now.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181188)

I used to buy CDs even as a teenager, and I didn't get a lot of money from my parents. Of course that meant I had a very limited selection of music, but I appreciated what I did have a lot more than I do now (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is still one of my favourite albums even though I listened to it non stop for weeks (used to code along to it).

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181240)

I agree with you .
While i like the fact that i can get stuff for free , i also like to donate to artist that i think are worth it.

But there are also songs , created in such way , that when you here it at first , you want it to hear it more , and then , after a few weeks , you realize the song actually sucks.

If you bought it by then , you've been screwed . I'd rather givbe my money to artist that actually create timeless , good music .

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181466)

I spent a lot more on music and entertainment as a teenager.

I made a few hundred a month (80 - 150/week), and only had to buy stuff for myself.

After gas and maintenance on my car (low mileage 20 year old car is decent shape that rarely needed anything but oil and gas), I still had hundreds left over for myself. Also, when the biggest check I ever saw was $150 saving for something real big seamed pointless. So I pissed away my money on dinners out, movies out, and CDs at a rate that would look crazy frivolous to me now. I also had more free time than now when I work 40-50 hours a week, and have a house to deal with. As much as it was frowned upon to sleep at school it is more so at work, and at school you could be really tired and noone cared as long as you sat up and looked forward.

I would imagine that teens have way more money for CDs and Movies than adults.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (0, Redundant)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180796)

Over and over and over again; We've stated that we believe that it doesn't matter if we can get it for free or not. What matters is that we like it. And in the cases of books, movies and music, if we love it, we will want to buy a copy to place on our shelves!

I have yet to meet anyone with enormous digital collections of copyrighted works that didn't also have enormous physical collections of copyrighted works.

This is yet another clear illustration of what really drives the consumer and forgetting about lawyers trying to justify their existence, let the MARKETERS take notice that this is most likely to be a very successful business model for the future.

Medium of Choice (3, Insightful)

mike2R (721965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180936)

But lets be honest here. Books are fundamentally different to music or movies or software. For the vast majority of readers, a physical book is the preferred medium, and you can't pirate these.

Does this mean that it doesn't work like this for purely digital works? No, but it isn't evidence that it does either.

Pirate Books and fidelity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181456)

You can't pirate books? Well, at least you don't do it at home and it requires a more organized industry than to pirate digital media.

However, I think the difference lies in the amount of publicity generated by pirated books and other pirate mediums: when somebody posts a pirated movie or disk, the publicity generated is close to 0. I think that only those who are actively looking for that movie or disk will find it and download it.

On the other side, pirate books are publicity by themselves: if one particular book or author is very popular among pirates, then you start to wonder if it might be worth reading it. With only this, I think there is an increase in the probabilities of you buying that particular book the next time you glance it at a library.

Another difference between movies, books and music is the fidelity. Even if I liked a movie by a particular director or actor, it is not said that I will rush to see their next movie. The same happens with music: I loved Metallica, but I won't buy any of their recent or future disks. With book authors I think there is more fidelity: if you liked one book, then you are more likely of at least trying to read the next book. This creates a very solid fan base that no singer can have: even 20 years later, new people will start reading those books, they will enjoy them, and they will buy entire sets of books and generate lots of revenues. Just think of "VERY" popular and prolific authors like Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Gabriel García Marquez or Pablo Coelho itself.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180974)

My 100gb music collection begs to differ, sir. Didn't anyone tell you that all generalizations are bad? ;)

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180990)

I don't give a rat's ass about the box sitting on my shelf. That's -never- been why I've bought something. Instead, I care about the work itself... Do I enjoy it? Do I think the author should be compensated? That's why I buy stuff.

In fact, there's SO much out there now that I've come to the conclusion that if it's not worth obtaining legally, it's not worth my time.

If an author (or other creator) is giving away their work, it has to be -very- good to convince me to also pay money for it. (Jonathan Coulton comes to mind... I bought his stuff.) Otherwise, I'll likely just purchase future work from them instead. (Baen.com comes to mind... They give away free ebooks and sell others... Some are sequels to the free ones.)

But if an author has made it clear that they expect payment, I honor that... By either ignoring their work or buying it, depending on how much I think I'll value it.

(Of course, there's also rentals and used items as well. The author doesn't gain additional compensation, but it -is- legal.)

Oh, and it was a lot harder to be ethical when I didn't have the money for stuff. I'm not looking down on anyone who -does- pirate... I've been there and know what it's like.

I've been saying it for years. (4, Interesting)

oncehour (744756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181006)

I've known for quite a while that piracy would be a great marketing tool. I actually wrote about the Creative Commons being a marketing tool on the popular writing e-zine "Writing World": Increase Your Market with a Creative Commons License [writing-world.com]

Interesting fact with that article, shortly after writing it Moira Allen decided to post all of her hundreds of articles under the Creative Commons as well. The real revolutionary thing about the Creative Commons and piracy is the viral marketing side of it. Companies have known for a long time that giving away free samples is awesome marketing, they just tend to cost considerably but with digital media this can be negated to almost nothing.

Sure some people don't buy your stuff, but in a lot of cases they wouldn't buy it anyway. You can also make up for a lower quality product by pirating it. For one thing it's off limits, for another it's free, and lastly it's obviously liked by other people otherwise it wouldn't be pirated. All these factors combine to make piracy and Open Licenses very powerful marketing tools that most companies are just missing out on.

I've actually covered the benefits of Philanthropic Marketing [dynamicmar...utions.com] on my blog. This includes Open Source, Open Licensing, and just plain helping out in the community to foster a stronger community and help it thrive. A lot of the FOSS crowd seems to be a bit socialistic in their viewpoints and try to convert people that way. I prefer to cater to their greed and self-interest which we all have and which FOSS and sharing in general are compatible with.

If anyone's interested in learning more or getting help with a philanthropic marketing campaign drop me a line at the email address mentioned on my blog.

Re:How long have we been saying it? (1)

s2theg (1185203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181502)

Maktub.

Well, good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180644)

Putting aside the precise legal details of his situation, anyone who succeeds at making a living off freely-distributed content is worth more than an army of w4r3z kiddie morons howling about how they get to break the law because "Yuor busines model is obsolete!"

I think you mean... (0, Redundant)

Dragon By Proxy (1063904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180668)

1.) Give it away
2.) ???
3.) PROFIT!!

Corroborating evidence (5, Insightful)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180670)

Baen Free Library [baen.com] has had much the same experience. Give it away free, sales go up.

But Wait, there's More!!!... (2, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181162)

Baen also sells ebooks - DRM free, multiple formats, and relatively inexpensive. http://www.webscription.net/ [webscription.net]

Also, they publish, with some of their books, the Baen CD - a CD containing all of the Free Library, the book you just bought, and a whole bunch of others, typically by that individual author. And the license is great - you can do anything you want with the cd - copy, give away - EXCEPT sell it. http://oberon.zlynx.org/ [zlynx.org] has all of them, with links to other distribution sites, all PERFECTLY LEGAL.

Jim Baen passed away last year (God rest his soul), but the people who continue to run the shop show no signs of lessening their commitment to these distribution channels. Science Fiction and Fantasy may not be your cup of tea, but what they are doing is great.

Prove it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181222)

Can you cite a source for this claim and not just 1 anecdote?

I'm getting irritated by the pervasive use of the tag "suddenbreakoutofcommonsense" on anything involving giving stuff away for free. It's not common sense, many times this tag is used; it's counterintuitive and probably incorrect (that sales go up in your claim for instance).

Truer words were never spoken. (2, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181406)

I'm getting irritated by the pervasive use of the tag "suddenbreakoutofcommonsense" on anything involving giving stuff away for free. It's not common sense, many times this tag is used; it's counterintuitive and probably incorrect

"Quite frankly, the whole point of slashdot is to have this big public wanking session with people getting together and making their own "insightful" comment on any random topic, whether they know anything about it or not."

-- Linus Torvalds

(source: http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/8/20/95 [lkml.org] )

Re:Proven (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181476)

Um, the Baen Free Library is not an anecdote.

My purchase of DC Comics series, Crime Bible: Five Lessons in Blood, after reading a "pirated" digital copy I had downloaded (not five minutes after I finished reading, I called my comics supplier and had them put the issue in my subscription folder and add the series to my subscription list) -- that is an anecdote. A true one, but an anecdote.

Sales records of multiple titles by multiple authors over the course of several years (admittedly from a single publisher) is HARD DATA, not an anecdote.

Before claiming RIAA should learn (4, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180678)

consider this. When you read a book its natural for you to sit with it, printed, preferably in some handy format where you turn pages. It makes sense to let people try before they buy. Personally I sit in my La-Z-Boy with a pot of tea, its nice comfy and let me really enter the world(s) of the book.

Music however got digitized. People don't own high end equipment any longer because the sound will still suck, we are used to music being digital and convenient. A lot of people have gotten used to the idea of music being something massively stored in a box on the network. When you got the music in digital format pirated you don't get any additional value by buying the CD.

RIAA/MPAA still need to get their act together and treat their costumers with respect. (He talks about getting to know your audience)

On a side note, I'm definitely grabbing a copy of the book (as in printed kind from a store) to check it out.

Won't work with games either... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180724)

the same is true of games, but that wont stop the slashdot crowd from

a) saying the games companies are stupid not to copy this model and
b) somehow using this to justify pirating games.

Re:Won't work with games either... (4, Interesting)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180942)

the same is true of games, but that wont stop the slashdot crowd from a) saying the games companies are stupid not to copy this model and b) somehow using this to justify pirating games.
You're wrong. Take, for example, Stardock's "Galactic Civilization II". The game has NO copy protection and NO way to prevent you from installing and playing a pirated copy. Yes, they use serial numbers to activate accounts to download the patches, but you can download those from a number of places without activation - in practice, there is no real prevention method in place. Yet the company sold enough copies of the game to produce two expansions AND still profit.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180824)

[quote]When you got the music in digital format pirated you don't get any additional value by buying the CD.[/quote] Sure you do, some of my favorite albums have the best album art. Besides if you only listen to your digital pirated copies, you'll have a perfectly unscratched, original CD to keep as an archive. There are other neat tricks they can put into the authentic purchase of the CD, like getting to buy concert tickets a few days in advance if you can show you bought the disc.

I'm not saying it's something I do very often, but when my favorite bands have a new album coming out I'm not ashamed to grab a copy off the net, pre-release, then buy the disc when it goes on sale.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

PowerEdge (648673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180882)

I agree. With a purchased CD I can encode at a rate that it more pleasing to me than what Apple or Microsoft deem it to be. I have unlimited rights to the copy and archival of the media. I have a master CD I can store away. There are plenty of advantages to a physical medium. I am still miffed that SACD and/or DVD Audio never took off.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180826)


Bull poop.

It works exactly the same way.

Maybe not for people younger than my generation (I'm 29) who are growing up around digital music, but everyone I know who like music has large electronic collections as a convenience, but buys loads in cd form either beforehand and ripping, or after downloading. You listen, you like it, you want the cd.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180840)

When you got the music in digital format pirated you don't get any additional value by buying the CD.


Obvious solution: put things on or with the CD that would increase the value but would be difficult to reproduce. Say... all of the seperate tracks used to mix the song in infinite quality FLAC format, perchance? :)

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181002)

Problem with that is, it's stupid easy to pirate THAT as well.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181052)

They'd have to be infinite quality, though! Really, really, massively big!

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181346)

or you could provide a nice packaging, a collector's tin, stickers, etc.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180878)

No, this does work for music too, at least in my case. Before I got a vast quantity of music from friends, copying iPods or ripping their CDs (or taking their already ripped MP3s), I had next to no CDs. It was rare for me to buy them. I now own more CDs then I know what to do with, literally. I had a stand for CDs that I actually filled up. I now have a bunch sitting around my desk and more crammed into drawers near my desk. The fact is without that music I never would've bought much. I was not a huge fan of radio (and still am not). I am very picky about my music now, but I do actually buy CDs on occasion. I still try to avoid RIAA CDs as much as possible, and those I do buy I buy used. I have gone from no real legal music to enough to fill my 16 GB iPod touch, and there are still a few gigs worth that won't fit on there.

So take that RIAA. This applies to the MPAA as well. I originally downloaded a lot of movies in college, but I have since bought most of them now that I have income. (I also am a big fan of short theater-to-DVD release cycles. From movie launch to DVD release should be short, preferably three months with six months max. (Though we have seen this more and more now that they have realized how much money is to be made from DVDs.)

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (3, Interesting)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180890)

I hate to sound like some big businessman who clearly knows nothing but buzzwords, but perhaps Games as a Service (much like software as a service) is kinda the way to go. Now maybe I don't know what that really means, but if I could just point to an example such as Ubuntu. Its free. However they still make money from selling tech support among other things. So why can't games do the same? Give away the free single player game, then charge for the online, either once or as a subscription (much as was said earlier about Savage 2). Course I guess it would simply turn all games into MMO games in essense, plus single player game content would take a back seat to the multiplay content, so games like MassEffect wouldn't appear as attractive. I suppose in the end, its entirely up to the developer and the game at hand to determine the most optimal pricing structure, because one structure for all games simply cannot work.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180938)

That was my first thought too. Just because this works for books, it doesn't necessarily follow that it will also work for music/movies/software. A digital book still has to be printed out (unless you want to read it on some crappy ebook reader, which still suck) to be read comfortably. Often it's worth buying just to avoid the hassle (giving you a nice paper, binding, quality printing, etc.). The same cannot be said for music and other formats which are actually WORSE on their purchased counterparts (who wants to juggle a bunch of CD's in 2008?!?!).

About the only other format that is might inherently lend itself to this are movies. It's still impractical to download even a DVD-sized movie (unless you compress the shit out of it with divx or xvid or some other format that doesn't look nearly as good as the original DVD). DVD's, HD-DVD's, and Blu-rays are relatively cheap and offer a pretty consistent quality picture (with stuff like anamorphic enhancement that you're not going to get out of a download). They also come with bonus features, booklets, a case, and a solid piece of physical media that can't be accidentally erased or turned-off by the DRM holder. In short, movies are still worth the purchase. So it is conceivable that someone could put their movie out there on the pirate networks and see a resulting boost in sales of the DVD.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180956)

Er, did music start to suck because it became digital, or did music start to suck because of the loudness war [wikipedia.org] ?

Also, I do like to buy CDs due to album art and a wish to support the artist.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (2, Insightful)

vajaradakini (1209944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181060)

It makes sense to let people try before they buy.

I think this is also why bookstores put comfy armchairs in the aisles near the books. Well, that and the fact that the longer people stay in the store, the more likely they are to buy more things.

I disagree about the cds though. There is a bit to be gained, usually a cd will have the booklet with lyrics and artwork and all this and that. Plus with the cd, you can put it into any digital format you want, but I'm not sure you can convert .mp3 files into .ogg files or something like this if you prefer the latter.

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181086)

Hmm, yeah, hasn't worked for me..... yet :)

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181356)

History says you're wrong. Here's how your post would have looked 2k years ago:

When you read a scroll its natural for you to sit with it, hand-printed, preferably in some handy format where you unroll and roll. It makes sense to let people try before they buy. Personally I sit in my bed with a pot of wine, its nice comfy and let me really enter the world(s) of the scroll.

[1500 years later]

Music however got recorded. People don't own musical instruments any longer because the sound will still suck, we are used to music being played by professionals. A lot of people have gotten used to the idea of music being something massively stored in a shelf. When you got the music in recorded format you don't get any additional value by seeing the performance live.


-mcgrew
(No spam for YOU!)

Re:Before claiming RIAA should learn (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181498)

Music however got digitized. People don't own high end equipment any longer because the sound will still suck...

I need to tell my high end customers that... They are convinced that their HD audio collection that is all digital sounds fantastic, they are so convinced that I am fooled by it as well. many tracks from http://www.musicgiants.com/ [musicgiants.com] sound better than any thing I have ever heard in my life.

but then I am listening on their $14,000.00 speakers through their $9,000.00 Anthem stereo, played on their "puter".

Truth is that digitized music sounds better than any record played on any turntable, Just because the low grade crap that the RIAA pumps out on the cheap CD's sounds like crap or the mp3's downloaded online are the same crap compressed harder does not mean the format is crap.

On a related subject (4, Interesting)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180690)

I'm going to be interviewing Phil & Kaja Foglio live this weekend [terrania.us] about this very issue: why they decided to stop selling individual print issues of their Girl Genius [girlgeniusonline.com] comic book and turn it into a free webcomic to sell more trade paperbacks and hardcover collections. Call in [terrania.us] with questions of your own.

Not the first to notice it, but a different way. (4, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180718)

He's not the first author to notice that "giving away" (quotes intended) your books via the Internet leads to increased sales. This might be called an extension of what Baen discovered several years ago. Let people read your books "for free," don't stick restrictions on them, and quite a number of them will end up purchasing those books and others by the author.

I think he's one of the first to really show that encouraging "piracy" actually leads to increased book sales. Obviously, you have to be a good writer in the first place - if your stuff sucks, it doesn't matter whether you give it away or not - but if you are, it'll encourage people to read what you're writing, and buy your books. Somehow, I think that this will get lost on the "suits" at the major publishers, though.

Re:Not the first to notice it, but a different way (3, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180880)

Somehow, I think that this will get lost on the "suits" at the major publishers, though.
Of course. For some reason these people have a concrete rule in their head that says:

one copy = one lost sale

I don't know where this logic comes from...

Re:Not the first to notice it, but a different way (2, Insightful)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181234)

Obviously, you have to be a good writer in the first place - if your stuff sucks, it doesn't matter whether you give it away or not


This is actually one of the reasons that some artists are scared of this business model. In the traditional author / publisher / reader model, an author only has to impress the publisher (who shoulders the risk of failure). In this new model, if you suck, you suck, and you will know it. No other entity will screen you financially from failure.

It's a bit scary, but it's great for the consumer!

No Substitute (4, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180742)

There is no and never will be (in the foreseeable future) a substitute for printed paper books.
This is why people will continue to buy books and how publishers should be making money in this new economy.

Dead trees (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180978)

Ron Lanner has been threatening to re-publish his "Trees of The Great Basin" digitally. I would much prefer it in solid form. I dread having to buy a new ink cartridge just for that. I am the same with music. Sell me the "real thing".

Re:No Substitute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181032)

I disagree. There is no convenient and affordable format to read electronic books without squinting or issues as of yet. People like books because even turning a page on e-book readers takes more energy away from reading. Create a platform for easy, cheap and similar reading but electronically, and you will see music and e-books go the same way. Why put it on a shelf if a library can fit on a USB stick? CD and DVDs were just as "sacred".

The majority of the buyers of books are not purchasing old books with unique leather-bound versions found in the mom-and-pop stores of antiquity. They are paperbacks bought from superstores and these same people will read Cohelo in the Tube and in the doctor's office from their paper-thin, foldable, e-book platform where they can read 100+ books at the touch of a finger, instead of that ONE they brought in their bag. It's just a matter of time, the will is there, but the method is not yet.

Me? I collect out of print, small press, leather-bound books... Always will, but I like to read conveniently when not collecting...

Re:No Substitute (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181446)

If the movies are any indication, we will one day be able to carry around a single sheet of transparent(!) material that will be able to display anything and be read by holding it up against a light background.

I can't see how books can stand up against something like that.

Not the first. (2, Insightful)

mnslinky (1105103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180808)

Musicians have had to do this for quite some time. They start off making their music, putting up a free MySpace or other page and letting people listen to their music for free. Then, when there's a following, they may start making money off of it. How is this guy really any different, aside from a different medium?

Also, being that he's got a publisher, I wouldn't be surprised if his actions were actionable in a legal sense on their part. In this case it seems to have worked out for the best for all parties involved, but if not, he could be a hurting man.

This is nothing new (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180820)

After all, Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book" sold well.

Online "library" (1)

PowerEdge (648673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180830)

Why not just have an online library that allows people to download whatever book they wanted onto their kindle, e-reader, i-phone for nothing. There is a "limited" number of books released to this online library and books are automatically "returned" within 5 days. If you want a book you can markup, or add to your personal library you are then given an option to purchase the physical representation (or a digital representation) and have it shipped to you.

Books and knowledge are meant to be freely accessible.

Re:Online "library" (1)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181108)

Books and knowledge are meant to be freely accessible.
Where on earth did you read that? (hehe)

You may be surprised to discover that, the people who take great time and pain to write good books or produce original literary material (e.g. the stuff that provides the source of a considerable amount of the better articles cited on Wikipedia) need to pay their bills too!

They require soem form of motivation to continue feeding your hunger for the latest knowledge, works of fiction and/or other quality literature... and - believe it or not - although a slap on the back or a mention of /. is all very nice, CA$H, as they say, is still KING.

Re:Online "library" (3, Informative)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181128)

Why not just have an online library that allows people to download whatever book they wanted ... There is a "limited" number of books released to this online library and ... If you want a book ... an option to purchase the physical representation

Do you mean like Oreilly's Safari service [oreilly.com] ?

Change bank (1)

GottliebPins (1113707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180848)

So giving away product increases sales? If the sale price is zero how do you make money? Yes we sold over a million copies of our new book for $0 dollars. After subtracting the cost of printing we earned -$6 million dollars. It reminds me of the SNL skit First CitiWide Change Bank. All we do is make change. How do we make money doing this? Volume.

Re:Change bank (1)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180932)

Read the article.

Digital copies are free, which generated interest. People then wanted actual physical books, which he sold to them From 0 in one year to 100,000 a couple years later.

In 2001, I sold 10,000 hard copies. And everyone was puzzled. We came from zero, from 1000, to 10,000. And then the next year we were over 100,000.

Re:Change bank (1)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181016)

It's a good thing you read the article before you posted (I know this is /. but come on). People, by and large, still prefer the feeling of holding a physical book, of being able to kick back in a chair or on the couch or in bed and still be able to read. Blah blah e-readers blah kindle... Not enough of a market and the library is too small.

Re:Change bank (5, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181116)

So giving away product increases sales? If the sale price is zero how do you make money?

Because you're overlooking an important point. You're talking about the "product" existing in two different formats. One, the electronic version, is being given away. The other, the "dead tree" version, is being sold. The production costs of the first are minimal compared to the second. There is also a real difference in the user experience and quality between the two. Giving away the first product leads to interest in it, and increases the likelihood of someone purchasing the second product.

Publishers already "give away" their product. Go to any library, and you can check out a book "for free." This can lead to interest in a given author, and make the people who read the "free" book look for, and purchase, other books by that author. This is well-known, and has been for years. The only difference is that it is now being extended to electronic media. In effect, the "free" stuff is a loss-leader. You're not making your money off the free stuff, but to increase the sales of the stuff you are making money from.

HTTP lives on port 80 (0, Offtopic)

fm2503 (876331) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180854)



Why oh why oh why do people persist in running web servers on non standard ports?
Why is his blog on port 8090?
Have they never heard of software virtual hosts?

Re:HTTP lives on port 80 (0, Offtopic)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180916)

why not? your browser can't handle it?

Re:HTTP lives on port 80 (1)

kailoran (887304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180998)

The browser most likely can, an overly restricive firewall on his end might be a problem though. Still, you can always tunnel, check it out after work, or remove the coral cache part.

Re:HTTP lives on port 80 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22180920)

Have you never heard of Coral Cache [coralcdn.org] ?

Re:HTTP lives on port 80 (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181184)

Because that's not the actual URL for his blog? That's a Coral Cache link, which is quite useful to prevent Slashdotting.

Remove the .nyud.net:8090 to get the real URL.

Getting attention (3, Insightful)

dhope (782142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180864)

The success of this tactic shouldn't come as a surprise. Without popularity/attention, financial success is impossible. What follows is that authors/artists must first do what ever to gain attention. After they have got the attention of the masses, then it shouldn't be too difficult to find ways to make money. While mere attention does not implicate income, it is a requirement for income.

Mal Reynolds from Firefly said it best.... (5, Interesting)

JBHarris (890771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180874)

About fifty percent of the human race is middle men and they don't take kindly to being eliminated.
--Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity
This is the where the music labels and book & video game publishers fit. Think about it when you see the RIAA fighting to survive. That is their purpose. The tubes have made them non-important. If your only purpose for existing was being made irrelevant by some new technology, wouldn't you fight that with everything you had? I'm not saying I agree with it, but it certainly gives you insight into the reasons "WHY".

Brad

Same for Education (5, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180908)

This is what I've been saying for a long time to the people I work with. I work for a medium-sized community college, and one of my jobs is creating media for our online classes, videos, podcasts, narrated powerpoints, etc. We have so many instructors that are worried about protecting their "intellectual property," as if it was academic gold. I tell them make you stuff open, share it with the public. Who cares if somebody at some other college uses our stuff? That only makes us look better. The one guy we have here that is actually doing what I'm saying has TONS of chemistry videos on Google Video, and as a result receives feedback from all over the world, and has been asked to speak at a few conferences because of it.

Underpants Gnomes!! (1, Funny)

grapes911 (646574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22180954)

"It sounds like a dotcom-era business plan: 1) give it away, 2) ???, 3) make pots of money." Actually, it sounds like the Underpants Gnomes. Step 1, Collect Underpants. Step 2, ?. Step 3, Profit.

Theoretical model of intellectual property? (3, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181022)

It is well known that libraries that freely loan books caused the book publishing business to collapse. .... Wait, that's not right.

We need a better theoretical model of intellectual property. Somehow the generally accepted ideas have been shown again and again to be wildly wrong. It is really stupid that most people don't seem to notice that they have to change their thinking.

Paulo Coelho ... (5, Informative)

Qetu (732155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181038)

Paulo Coelho leapt out of obscurity? WTF?

from wikipedia:

Coelho has sold over 100 million books in over 150 countries worldwide and his works have been translated into 66 languages (Goodyear, Dana (2007-05-07), "The Magus", The New Yorker: 38-45, ). He has received numerous literary awards from a variety of countries, including La Legion d'Honneur (France), Grinzane Cavour (Italy). In addition, he has written Maktub[5], which is a collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, The Manual of a Warrior of Light, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept[6], The Fifth Mountain, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, Like The Flowing River and The Valkyries[7].

Over-hype (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181066)

When a company does this it's a Promotion. So why is this pirating when an individual does it?

good thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181322)

It's like ask what does the box think of you, instead of you thinking in/outside the box.

This is an old buisness model. MS uses it. (1)

jtyler2k (757716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181374)

I remember the old days of windows 3.1 and 3.11 for workgroups. Back then MS used to "encourage" people to put copies people had from work on their home machines that were running DOS and xtree, etc. It was so easy to get a free copy of windows from a friend on a disk that had absolutely no protection from "bootlegging". Actually, most people didn't even think of it like it is thought of today. So what happened? Everyone started using it. MS won the OS war over the likes of OS/2 etc. Now your grandma uses an MS OS on her cell phone. (alright not quite, but you get my drift here). If you make something that people like you'll be successful. Most people don't want to risk their money to find out if something is worth their time. In the case of a good book, you don't need to try before you buy. You're going to listen to a friend. In the case of music, most people, once out of college when working will want to pay for music. iTunes does this almost good. I know a lot of people who hit up bit torrent just because iTunes and the likes use DRM, and they've been burned on a purchase at some level or another. Some albums you don't want to spend the time and money to go to a best buy to see if you like it, and once you dl it, you don't bother to go out and buy it. I think that if they set up their business model to cater to the lazy, they'll be going in the right direction. For example, get rid of DRM on iTunes. Allow a try before buy - trial of full use, etc. It would be like when your friend let you borrow a CD back in '89 and you loved it, had to give it back, so you had to buy it.

Not exactly complete books (1)

cjpa (796302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181422)

I just downloaded Veronika decides to die, and you just get a pdf with the first chapter of the book, just as Coelho himself puts on his website. It's not the complete book. If all pdf's are like this, this article is a blatant lie.

This is not a plan for everyone (3, Insightful)

matt_morgan (220418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181428)

Everything works some of the time. This is not an obscure author, but an extremely famous one. Radiohead is an extremely famous band. I bet if we really surveyed how often giving away content helps sales, we'd see that it helps some people, and not others. If we could even compare to a control, which is unlikely.

The usual model for giving away content works like this:

1) I can't compete with the bigger brands in my area, so I'll give away what I have for free.
2) The quality of my work will establish me, and fame (eg user base) will lead to big things.

It worked for PHP, but you can't say it worked for PostgreSQL, which was based on something that was famous already. Ditto for Radiohead and Coelho. They're not a good model for most of us.

Strange ways of the universe (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22181452)

One day at work a number of years ago, someone suggested I read The Alchemist. A couple weeks later, I was sitting in my livingroom and looked over at a pile of my roommate's things and right there in the pile was The Alchemist and another of Paulo Coelho's books. I read them both. I suppose you could say I "pirated" them, but if you knew my roommate at the time you'd be more inclined to say that I rescued them.

Good Point (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22181520)

Even to this day, I think many companies have been struggling with how to effectivly incorporate the Internet into their business model. This guy jumped out of obscurity by doing it. This is clearly a win for those people who support fewer and fewer copyright restrictions, but I wonder if he'll do the same with his next book. This is a common trend in music, musicians love the Internet when they're not popular, but look at it as public enemy number 1 when they are. It opens your talent up to a wider spectrum of people, but if you're a musician or author that already has that following, then what?
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