Originally Posted by wallcraft
I think Amazon should have allowed lending library ebooks from day one. I'm not sure they ever will, partly because they are trying to kill off MobiPocket.
There are some interesting things happening to the market for books. Increasing numbers of people have caught on to the idea of giving away a book to introduce an author or a specific series. New authors often use the book giveaway approach to gain a following -- look at Boyd Morrison as one of the most successful in this regard.
However, I wonder if this is like the "prisoner's dilemma" from economics. It makes a lot of sense on an individual market basis, but from a macro point of view will it damage the market? For example, I only used to buy books that I was ready to read, but I bought and read a lot of them. Now, however, I have a large backlog. There are many books on my reader that I have downloaded for free as part of a promotion. This has led to a few sales by authors, but in general I always have a backlog of free books. Even if a teaser is interesting I find I have quite a lot of reading to go before I will get through the books I already have.
Then there is the included library with every Sony e-book reader. Electronic checkout takes much of the effort out of getting a free book from the library.
Now DRM enters the picture. Many of the books I might want to buy (except for Baen.com -- thank goodness for them) are 'protected' with DRM. As a result I am paying premium prices, even at $9.99, for what amounts to a rental or loan of a book.
So why not just check it out from the library where I can get it for free? And get the new authors for free through giveaways?
And what does all of this do to the economic incentive to produce books in the first place?