@lilywhite: thank you for your kind words.
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
The problem with the entire argument of digital goods "wanting" to be free is that it devolves actual conversation across the board. The only way for an author to make money becomes ad revenue. And the only way to generate ad revenue is to engage in linkbaiting and driving traffic to your site. People stop engaging in meaningful conversations in social networks or on forums and instead look for ways to get pageviews. So instead of engaging in actual conversation, you end up with authors who just post linkbait subject lines and one sentence plugs for their blogs in the hopes of driving traffic to generate ad revenue.
My blog post was a little long, that's why I didn't copied it here. I don't have any advertisement on my blog.
You are almost right that if digital goods become free, the only way for an author to make money becomes ad revenue. And I'm totally with SBJones when he say that the "math behind ad revenue inside an e-book doesn't add up".
You are almost right Julie, because there's another way to make money if your ebook is free: sell copies to libraries. Sell it to 10,000 libraries and you'll make money.
I know, I know. You'll answer by a question, asking if it's a joke. I know the subsidiary market of libraries is a very difficult one to reach for an indie author. I know there isn't any guarantee that 10,000 libraries will buy our ebooks. But that's the idea behind Ebooks are Forever, and it has some merits. Not for the money of the libraries (you may argue that it would be like having your books subsidised by public money), but because, in my opinion, the librarians are often prescribers.
So, it's a market worth reaching: it would be a pity to leave it exclusively to trad pub authors. I have my ebooks on Smashwords and Overdrive, but without having had any success with libraries.
The problem with EAF is that it plans to, at some point in the future, give unlimited uses of ebooks to librarians. That means that for one ebook you sell to a library, an unlimited number of people can download it at the same time (for a two weeks period). Once you have made your sale, the library keeps your ebook forever, and you cannot withdraw it.
Given the number of different libraries websites, that project is tantamount, for me, to a free Kindle Unlimited service.
My fear is not so much the website of a library suddenly able to rival with Amazon, than the thought that it's suddenly legal to download an unlimited number of ebooks.
I'm okay with selling to libraries for a single use at the same time by ebook sold, though (that's the current system).
Even if I do acknowledge that sharing and "free" is in the DNA of the Internet, I think that saying that digital goods want to be free is a wicked thing: for me, it's like attacking intellectual property because it's easier than attacking classic property.
Either you make everything free and we enter in another kind of society (I want Roddenberry to tell me how he managed to accomplish that in Star Trek!), either we fight to protect intellectual property.
For the record, my ebooks are without DRM and I agree that my readers share them if they want to. I have permafree ebooks. I offer my novels in exchange of reviews. And the readers don't owe me anything except the respect for the work I've done. It's a logical thing: if that respect suddenly disappears, we don't stand a chance to make another sale.