Originally Posted by Elfwreck
Nah, there will still be sales. It may only be the "click here to donate" type of sale, but that's still income.
Think people won't pay for what's available for free? Look at the bottled water industry. They'll pay for convenient packaging (which, in the case of ebooks, may mean "nice format" and/or "download from a site I already visit") and sometimes from brand loyalty.
Now you're at the heart of the matter, and what is described in the book more eloquently than I ever could. The 'donation' model, or even merchandising, or fundraising to complete the work will all be viable methods of 'payment' its just that 'payment in the first instance' will become obsolete and unexpected. The product itself will be valueless (because of its digital nature) the writer/publisher will have to make profits from either an enhanced product, selling some kind of atom based product (as we stand this is the pbook) or taking part fully in the gift economy.
It's not such a bad future, profits will still be made, livings will be had, but it will disrupt and dismay the trad publishers along the way.