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Does Generosity Pay Off?

The idea is to give readers the opportunity to sample the books online in the same way that prospective buyers can flip through books in a bookstore.

Hi Writers,

To follow up on my previous post on changing reading habits, the poll right now:
Do you buy less print (books, magazines, newspapers) than five years ago?
37 people so far have voted “yes” (they are buying less) vs. 51 people who voted “no.” I'm keeping the poll open so scroll down and cast your vote.

Reassuring numbers for writers, although the fact that writers are the primary readers of this blog skews those numbers. Interesting to note comments here and on the forum, many mentioned that while they do buy fewer newspapers, they buy just as many if not more magazines and books than they did five years ago. So that’s encouraging.

On that note, HarperCollins is rolling the dice with a new program that will offer the full contents of many of their books online free of charge.

HarperCollins Will Post Free Books on the Web

Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times article:

In an attempt to increase book sales, HarperCollins Publishers will begin offering free electronic editions of some of its books on its Web site, including a novel by Paulo Coelho and a cookbook by the Food Network star Robert Irvine.

“It’s like taking the shrink wrap off a book,” said Jane Friedman, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. “The best way to sell books is to have the consumer be able to read some of that content.”

A gamble to be sure, one the whole publishing industry will no doubt be watching closely. Hopefully what Paulo Coelho had to say is true: “I believe that generosity pays off.”

I love that. And I hope he’s right.
What’s your take?

Keep Writing,
Maria

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