A nasty thought occurred to me today:
- Set up an ebook store as a TOR hidden service. Accept only bitcoins. There are torrents around with huge number of ebooks without DRM. Start with those.
- Provide means for customers to upload new (or old ones with better quality) books with DRM removed. Give them a cut in the action. Possibly a wiki style setup, where people can edit individual book info.
- Undercut prices used by other ebook stores by a considerable margin, say 30% or more.
- Keep something reasonable like <5% of the profits for yourself, and set the rest aside for the AUTHOR.
- Keep a PUBLIC accumulated balance from all sales for each AUTHOR.
- Provide means for customers to verify that their purchase is counted for in the balance
- Provide means for authors to publicly OR privately give a bitcoin address(es) where to send profits.
From what I understand, with this kind of pricing, authors would still be making significantly more money per sale than what they get from Amazon etc. Keeping the balances public gives an easy and anonymous way for authors to check how much money is coming for them, and also an incentive for them to actually provide a bitcoin address, where the profits can be sent.
For example, if authors have a public "donation" address, as some already do, that can be used automatically, if nothing else is provided. That also gives them plausible deniability, if such is desirable.
A LOT of people (middlemen) would not like a system like this, but there's not much anybody could do about it, and if it's done "honestly", it's quite easy to see how it could become popular for the customers, lucrative for the owners, and quietly accepted by not insignificant portion of the authors. Would be interesting to see how it would develop.
Not that I recommend anyone to actually implement anything like this of course, as it's all very much illegal!! Just a thought. Would it work though?