Re: Content Provider Problem?

Jon P. Knight (
Sat, 17 Sep 1994 16:23:34 +0100 (BST)

On Sat, 17 Sep 1994, Tony Sanders wrote:
> Even if a text was available online I believe that most people would go
> down to the bookstore and buy a copy to read if they wanted to read it.
> *Assuming* they didn't have to buy it twice (once online and once hardcopy)!
> Sales of certain types of books (mainly reference books) would probably
> be affected by publication online but the vast majority would not.

I wonder how having the PostScript drafts of John Ousterhout's reference
book ``Tcl and the Tk Toolkit'' freely available has affected sales for
Addison-Wesley? My guess (and it is just a guess) is that it either
hasn't effected them at all, or has even improved sales. Why? Because I
used the PostScript draft extensively before the book was published and I
still do. But I got the book as soon as I could because it was nice to
have the full index there (which wasn't in the draft) and to be able to
read it where I currently can't easily read an electronic version (on my
Mac for example :-) ). Brent Welch is doing likewise with his new book.

So maybe all this talk of copy protection and encryption, etc is a bit of
smoke screen if free distributing the information in one format helps the
sales of the same (or similar) information in another format.


Jon Knight, Research Student in High Performance Networking and Distributed
Systems in the Department of _Computer_Studies_ at Loughborough University.
* It's not how big your share is, its how much you share that's important *