Friday, September 14, 2007

Books for Free?

Books for free where everyone gets paid, author, publisher and retailer! This may sound far fetched but it is happening today. The money will not come from the consumer but from the likes of Ikea, Walt Disney, Nike, Pepsi etc. We have seen the emergence of the advertising model all over the internet from Google to social networking sites, we have seen it spread to the music industry through new ventures such as Spiral Frog. Well now it could be entering the shelves of bookselling!

We have seen and reported on the move to bring an advertising based model into the medical journal market but this one is different in that it is customisable. The consumer selects the advertiser!

Shanghai-based Bookgg is exploring a new advertisement powered free book business model. The consumer selects the book and then selects the sponsors with their placement on your book until the price of the book drops to zero. The book is then printed and posted.

For every free book, you need to have a book ticket, which you get once you have registered. You then earn further book tickets by referring new users or orders or buying into an account, which will issue new tickets every month.

Every advertising sponsor can only be selected by an individual once so promoting you to spread your sponsors and in effect find out about others. The sponsor receives all personal information.

Finally the books are printed on demand by Bookgg and contain your sponsors adverts.

So does this make sense? In the Chinese market it probably does fit with both their culture and also the exploding distributed POD market where many bookstores are using POD technology. But will it influence the western markets? It is novel but raises many questions on copyright, royalties sales tracking and accountability and the author could have serious concerns about exactly who they wish to have sponsor their work.