L’assunto: i libri elettronici non sono sostituti delle loro versioni cartacee. E’ da qui che Cory Doctorow parte per smontare l’apriori che propugna il contrario, e per dimostrare che i guadagni tratti dalle vendite delle copie cartacee sono surclassati da quelli derivanti da foreign rights deals, comic book licenses, speaking engagements, article commissions.
Cory Doctorow scrive di fantascienza e tecnologie, futuro digitale, libertà di espressione. E in questo editoriale pesca nella propria esperienza per mostrare come la pubblicazione gratuita di un libro sul web e la vendita delle sue copie cartacee non siano affatto incompatibili, anzi. Si può dire piuttosto, sfiorando il paradosso, che il megafono della Rete sia un propulsore eccezionale per il mercato editoriale tradizionale (grassetti miei):
I started giving away e-books after I witnessed the early days of the “bookwarez” scene, wherein fans cut the binding off their favorite books, scanned them, ran them through optical character recognition software, and manually proofread them to eliminate the digitization errors. These fans were easily spending 80 hours to rip their favorite books, and they were only ripping their favorite books, books they loved and wanted to share. (The 80-hour figure comes from my own attempt to do this — I’m sure that rippers get faster with practice.)
I thought to myself that 80 hours’ free promotional effort would be a good thing to have at my disposal when my books entered the market. What if I gave my readers clean, canonical electronic editions of my works, saving them the bother of ripping them, and so freed them up to promote my work to their friends?
After all, it’s not like there’s any conceivable way to stop people from putting books on scanners if they really want to. Scanners aren’t going to get more expensive or slower. The Internet isn’t going to get harder to use. Better to confront this challenge head on, turn it into an opportunity, than to rail against the future (I’m a science fiction writer — tuning into the future is supposed to be my metier).
E conclude con un peana ai Creative Commons, veri sdoganatori dei libri freakonomici :)
The timing couldn’t have been better. Just as my first novel was being published, a new, high-tech project for promoting sharing of creative works launched: the Creative Commons project (CC). CC offers a set of tools that make it easy to mark works with whatever freedoms the author wants to give away. CC launched in 2003 and today, more than 160,000,000 works have been released under its licenses.