Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Uses of Amazon and the Future of Ideas

Lawrence Lessig's book The Future of Ideas is now available for free from his web site (here for future reference is the explicit link for the PDF -- note the use of S3). It looks like a great book and while I now have the PDF download on my Mac I am still going to buy it from Amazon. The book was first published by Random House in 2001 and Lessig with their agreement now makes it available for free under a creative commons license which sanctions any non-commercial reuse of the copyright. If I had a Kindle I could buy it from Amazon in that format. Random House would, if I prefer, sell me an eBook version. Amazon will also kindly let me search inside in another digital format.
So much choice -- really too much format choice. But we wonder how much arm-twisting Professor Lessig had to engage in to persuade Random House to allow him to give the book away. There is also some irony in the fact that Lessig's book is being given away using the Amazon S3 service (presumably because in that way Lessig, with his limited resources can cope with immense or fluctuating demand). When Amazon planned their superb service S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service) did it cross their mind that one of its uses would be to facilitate the giving away of digital books that might otherwise be sold by Amazon? Some irony, but so what? Lessig, Random House and Amazon are to be commended for their open-ness and their generosity.

1 comment:

Alain Pierrot said...

too much format choice

Yes indeed!

Screen capture from eBookMall list of formats & platforms

The original is eBookMall

Definitely not a comfortable view for publishers and customers!