with this Wired article that books should be sold with digital access. But I think he’s making his argument backward. I’m not likely to buy a book for the sole purpose of gaining access to the digital edition. These days, I want to buy a book as a hard-copy back-up to the digital edition. Even if you’re granted access to a title indefinitely, even if it’s stored in your own, personal cloud, how likely is it that that electronic format will still be out there 50 years from now or that it will work on newer devices?
Web comic artists are doing this now. Heck, they’ve been doing it since their main publishing format was newspapers. Nearly everyone who purchases the latest SMBC collection has already read the content. Charge the full book price for digital editions and throw in the print edition for free, then let people opt out of receiving the book if they don’t want it. Publishers stand to increase their profits on those readers who opt out.
How cool if people started curating their own in-home print libraries for preservation/retention purposes!