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Author Topic: An E-Book store. A business idea for someone legally flexible  (Read 888 times)
Zibbo
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July 07, 2011, 09:59:49 AM
 #1

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?
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faille
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July 07, 2011, 10:08:34 AM
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Just what Bitcoin needs is more illegal businesses to support it and raise it's profile!
ColdHardMetal
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July 07, 2011, 10:48:26 AM
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If someone is computer literate enough to be using TOR, why would they pay money for a book in a torrent they are more than capable of getting on their own?

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July 07, 2011, 10:54:31 AM
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If someone is computer literate enough to be using TOR, why would they pay money for a book in a torrent they are more than capable of getting on their own?

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July 07, 2011, 11:06:26 AM
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If someone is computer literate enough to be using TOR, why would they pay money for a book in a torrent they are more than capable of getting on their own?

 Grin

the whole point would be to give the customer a way of giving the author his share rather than sending 98% to those middle men and only 2% to the author as it is today.

knowing that the authors sell their rights to the distributors and can't officially agree to a legal version of the suggested service I am with the OP.

I had thought about similar mechanisms for a grass root culture flat rate where I give 10$/month to a service and tell the service about my desired share of that. Now the service invites the film makers, book authors, music artists etc. to grab their share. Problem is as the moral relief will not stop the police from punishing me, people will not use it in masses thus the incentive for the artists would be too small to make them stand up against the established distributors as they would still generate the vast majority of their income.

Dobrodav
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July 07, 2011, 11:28:20 AM
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Hmm, i am know about 3 services, that will provide you books for free. Not because they are evil bastards, but because of their ideas.
Idea of underground service where money comes directly to authors is not bad, by the way.
But i am must mention, that big role in popularity of the book, relays on the publisher - redaction, positioning, adds, tours, etc.

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July 07, 2011, 11:33:37 AM
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But i am must mention, that big role in popularity of the book, relays on the publisher - redaction, positioning, adds, tours, etc.

Yes, unfortunately you are right. But that does not justify that the publisher takes 98%, does a bad job and blocks the author to go with some other ways of distributing his book. I know how it works. I own the rights of 2 books that sold some 30k times and are out of stock with no reprint in sight. It is a hassle to buy them free (although it has been a while ... maybe I should start an attempt again.)

Katapult
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July 07, 2011, 01:50:57 PM
 #8

Giving more money to authors isn't necessarily a bad idea in itself, but sadly enough lone authors would probably make even less money if it weren't for the support of editors to make the book better, publishing companies to make the book what it is and in the case of pre-established authors sometimes even give them an advance so the author can have food and lodging while writing.  Then there's the agents which find and negotiate the deals for the authors, and finally some publicists which make sure we hear about the book, organize the various presentations, book fairs, tv shows, etc where the author will present their book.

There's a lot of cost in making a book, and any system which reward only one of those parties isn't recognizing the hard work of the other parties.

Unless of course your website decides to buy unedited manuscripts, and you decide to do the editing, publishing, publicizing, etc yourself, then yes, cutting the need for middlemen.  But if you use the work of middlemen and refuse to pay them for their time, efforts, investments, and RISK (there's always a risk involved in publishing any book, that it might flop and not sell well enough to cover the costs), then you're not doing anyone a favor with your system.

Anyone who feels like you could just as well download the book on a torrent and send money in an envelop to the author directly.
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