the guys over at 37signals have made $437,000 off their .pdf e-book
in the last 8 months, so they decided they can give it away free now.
it's nice to have a following...
p.s. it appears that my earlier posting of this was moved to be
a new thread, which is ok i guess, except i considered it to be
an excellent (and nicely timely) example of my points above...
the authors of this "book" (which is mostly a collection of entries
from their blog) had considered submitting it to a "real" publisher,
but were turned off by the publication lag they'd have to endure,
as well as onerous terms that would've left them with a pittance.
so they said, "what the hey, we can turn it into a .pdf and sell it
from our website and keep 100% of the proceeds instead of 7%,
and the thing will get out by march 1st instead of sometime this fall,
so we're gonna do it ourselves." and they did. and now it's fall, and
they've already made $400,000+, so they're turning it loose for free,
hoping to generate even more readership, which they will then have
in their following for their _next_ book. i won't pretend these guys
are typical -- they obviously are not -- but their mode of operation is
one that _many_ authors will be emulating (partially) as time goes on.
and these guys had no trouble _finding_ a publisher. for most authors,
that task is extremely difficult -- sometimes verging on impossible --
so obtaining freedom from that necessity will be tremendously liberating.