Kaimuki Middle School Presentation

 Posted by at 7:18 PM  Tagged with:
Oct 042010

My presentation at Kaimuki Middle School

Last month, while visiting Hawaii, one of my wife’s friends asked me to come in to Kaimuki Middle School in Honolulu, Hawaii, to talk to the gifted & talented Language Arts class there. She wanted me to speak about writing and what it’s like to be an author. At first, I was nervous, and wasn’t quite sure what to say, or if I’d have enough to talk about, or if anyone would ask any questions. Well, I shouldn’t have been concerned: the class was very receptive, asked a number of very intelligent and perceptive questions, and I think the 45-minute presentation went very well.

Mrs. Hansen (in the photo above) welcomed me to her classroom, and the children gave me the nice lei you can see around my neck in the photo. She had read parts of my newest (and most young adult-friendly) novel, The Twiller, to the class, and they seemed to like the chapters that took place on the exotic planet of “Huh? Why E?”

While I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to talk about, the time really flew by — which is odd, since I remember sitting as a student in many classrooms and feeling like the class period would never end! So, before I knew it, half of the period had gone by, and I asked the students if they had any questions.

Not only were the students very eager and inquisitive in asking a number of questions, but many of the questions were very intelligent and insightful. My favorite was probably: “If you enjoy writing so much, why did you go to law school and become a lawyer?” — which is a difficult question to answer! Students also asked me about the title of my first novel (Right Ascension), how I designed the covers of my novels (which led to discussion of the Hubble Space Telescope and the observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii), about the writing process, how I came up with my characters, and plenty of other excellent questions. I was very impressed by how intelligent, mature, curious, and eager the students were — I had to remind myself that they were only in middle school!

I definitely got a lot out of the presentation, and I hope the students did as well. Several students expressed interest in reading and writing, and I tried to help fuel their passions by explaining how much enjoyment I’ve derived from reading and writing in my life. I even got a couple of requests for my next book, including “something with vampires.” 😉

At least one student went home and asked his father to order The Twiller from my website — so thank you for that, Chance, and I hope you enjoy the book! (Since he ordered express shipping and I was still nearby in Honolulu, I hand-delivered his signed book to him the next day.)

Once I returned home, I was pleasantly surprised to receive 25 hand-written thank-you notes from the students! I am very grateful to each of you for writing me, and it was my pleasure to come by and speak to your class. Several students asked questions in their letters, so I’ll try to answer them here:

  • Aileen K.: Keep writing! And, yes, I do all my writing on the computer too.
  • Aileen Z.: You’re right, the Twiller does help someone in the book!
  • Quinn: Could you give me some tips on being a lawyer? Let’s see, I’d say that you should practice doing research and debating (both written and oral).
  • Alyssa: You’re very welcome, and I encourage you to keep expressing yourself through writing.
  • Colin: I’m glad you like “Huh? Why E?”
  • Emily: I hope you enjoy The Twiller, and please thank your aunt for me for buying a copy of Right Ascension!
  • Joseph: I will definitely remember my visit to your school!
  • Madeline: I hope my tip about studying your characters before you start writing helps you in your own stories. And I’m glad you liked the covers!
  • Caryssa: I’m overjoyed that anything I said helped inspire you to write and helped you learn how to grab the reader right from the start.
  • Kaycee: I’m glad I was able to motivate you, and I’m sure you can become an author someday, if that’s what you put your mind to.
  • Rei: I’m glad you found the event “interesting and fun” instead of boring! Good luck with your singing and dancing career.
  • Nathan: I’m excited to hear that I helped set your brain “alight” and provided a “spark.” Great imagery!
  • Leslie: It did take some balancing and time management to write my second novel while I attended law school…
  • Moriah: I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve already read two of my novels! I’m glad you found them “cool and sci-fi-ish.”
  • Joy: Is it harder to write a series or a single book? What is the glossy coating on your book covers? When writing a series, you can use some of the same characters and elements of the same “universe” that you’ve already created, so in that sense it’s easier. But, that challenges you to explore new aspects of the characters and have them grow and develop, and come up with enough new material to keep the story interesting, so that aspect is challenging. As for the book covers, the printer I use does the glossy coating on the covers, and I really like the way they look.
  • Korynn: I’m very glad to help inspire you, and I liked your drawing of my book covers!
  • Hiroyo: Thanks for the idea to write my next book about vampires! I wish I could speak Japanese like you can, but all I know is: nihongoga wakarimasen.
  • Anya: It was my pleasure to meet all of you and answer your questions.
  • Parker: I’m glad you learned about the importance of creating good characters, and I hope that helps your writing.
  • Chance: Thanks again for having your dad buy my book, and I’m glad to hear that you want to write.
  • Jocelyn: I’m happy to hear that some of what I said was useful for your Uncle Phil. I have more info about the electronic publishing process on my blog here.
  • Justin: It can easily take a year to write a 75,000-word novel, but I started out by writing short stories and newspaper articles that took much less time!
  • Raellis: I’m glad you enjoyed the places I used in The Twiller — they’re mostly the places where I’ve lived or spent a lot of time (like Fleur Ida, El Leigh, and Huh? Why E?).
  • Kalena: I do enjoy visiting “Huh? Why E?” And I’m sure if you continue to “work hard and think hard,” you’ll make a great fashion designer.
  • Celine: I’ve always been fascinated by NASA pictures and astronomy — you can find a lot of great NASA pictures at their website.

Thanks again to Mrs. Hansen and everyone in the class for the very kind letters and for making my experience in your classroom a great one!

Apple iPod Touch and iPod Refresh

 Posted by at 9:19 PM  Tagged with: ,
Sep 012010

Apple's New iPod Line: the Shuffle, Nano, and Touch

Apple today announced a refresh of its iPod line, with new models of the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch adds the iPhone’s 960×640 IPS “Retina” display, A4 processor, and gyroscope. It also adds front- and rear-facing video cameras, designed for use with Apple’s “FaceTime” video chat software. Prices are $229 for the 8GB model, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB.

The iPod Nano has the most drastic change: its size was cut roughly in half so only the screen remains (no more click wheel). The screen is now a touchscreen and has a home screen with specialized “apps” (like audio and photo players), but it won’t run normal iPhone apps and games. It gains FM radio capability and Nike+ pedometer support, but it loses its camera and the ability to display video. The prices are $149 for the 8GB version and $179 for the 16GB. It now has a clip like its smaller Shuffle sibling.

Finally, the iPod Shuffle actually gets its clickwheel back, but otherwise remains largely unchanged from the last version. It holds 2GB and costs $49.

Of note, the iPod Classic hums along unchanged, at $249 for a model with a 160GB hard drive.

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Aug 312010

Staples announced today that they will be carrying the new Kindle 3 e-readers in their retail stores “this fall.” They will carry the $139 Kindle 3 Wi-Fi, the $189 Kindle 3 Wi-Fi + 3G, and “in late fall,” the larger $379 Kindle DX 2. This should offer more people the opportunity to see in person how easy on the eyes and paper-like e-Ink displays really are. Until then, you can still see the older Kindle 2 models at Target, or see the Nook at Barnes & Noble or Best Buy.

In other news, on the heels of the introduction of the lower-price Kindle 3 Wi-Fi for just $139, Kobo has wisely discounted its own Kobo E-Reader (which trails the Kindle and Nook in speed and features) to $129 to compete. While I like the Kobo’s light weight and focus on reading, I still think the new K3 is a better value. But the lower price is a step in the right direction — you can go check out a Kobo at a Borders store near you.

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The Real “Kindle Killer”

 Posted by at 7:49 PM  Tagged with: ,
Aug 252010

Please excuse me for poking a bit of fun at all the “iPad [or whatever magical device] is a Kindle Killer” article headlines, but it seems to me that the only real device with a chance of “killing” reading is the television. I just saw this report by Bowker, which proudly announced that “More than 40% of Americans over the age of 13 purchased a book in 2009.”

Now, not to delve too deeply into the math, but if 40% of Americans bought a book in 2009, then that means almost 60% of adults didn’t buy even one single book all last year. That’s a pretty depressing number to me. I mean, I know reading isn’t “cool” anymore, but I would have thought more than half of Americans would buy a book in a whole year.

It’s especially depressing when you compare it to TV statistics: 99% of American households own a TV, and on average, watch it between 4-6 hours a day. Hours a day vs. not even one book in a year. I couldn’t even find statistics for the percentage of people who watched at least one show on TV last year, presumably because everyone knows it’s 100%.

The sad thing is, most of the crap on TV is just, well … crap. Anything even remotely good (*sniff* Firefly *sniff*) gets cancelled anyway. If it wasn’t for Gator football games, I’d have pretty much no use for TV. As it is, I don’t own one (my wife has a small one hooked up to rabbit ears — no cable), although we do watch a few shows on Hulu.

Anyway, I need to head back to some reading / e-book forums to restore my faith in humanity, by hearing more stories of people who read 10 books a week and have a “to be read” list of 500 titles on their Kindles. Until then, feel free to leave a comment below telling me how often you read instead of watching TV.

Yes, I guess I can wait until the next commercial. *sigh*

Problems With DRM

 Posted by at 1:18 PM  Tagged with: , , , ,
Aug 232010

Does DRM Prevent Piracy Or Cripple Legitimate Users?

DRM, which stands for Digital Rights Management, is a form of copy protection sometimes embedded into electronic media (like e-books, MP3 music files, etc.). Its purpose is generally noble: prevent piracy (unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted material) so that the content creators (authors, musicians, publishers) can earn the money they deserve for their work.

NOTE: If your stance is that copyright is evil and “all information wants to be free” and that people shouldn’t get paid for creating music or writing a book or researching a newspaper article (but that you should get paid for fixing people’s computers or writing car dealership advertisements or whatever you do for a living), then I don’t think we’ll see eye to eye and you may as well move on to another blog.

But here’s the problem with DRM: it generally doesn’t prevent piracy, since almost all forms of DRM have been hacked, and it just ends up annoying legitimate, paying customers. So the pirates strip out the DRM and continue sharing files illegally, and the actual customer (who we as content creators should be bending over backwards for) is annoyed, limited in how they can use the music or e-book they purchased, and sometimes has to buy it again just because they got a new computer or e-book reader. Lame.

Let me give you a simple example to explain why DRM is broken: I have a few MP3 songs on my computer. Most of them came from old CDs that I had bought. I bought a few from Apple through iTunes several years ago. They’re all mixed together, and I don’t really remember which songs came from which source — except that I was forcefully reminded of it when I tried to do something as simple as transfer the songs to my wife’s iPod.

Now, let’s make this clear: I own the music. I own the Mac. I own the iPod (OK, I’m borrowing my wife’s iPod for a trip). I listen to the music on the Mac, and now want to listen to it on the iPod. No piracy is going on.

I go to copy over all my music onto the iPod and get an error — iTunes tells me that certain songs (the ones I had purchased through iTunes) are copy-protected and can not be used on my wife’s iPod. Now think about this for a second. Had I pirated (stolen) the songs, I could copy them over no problem. But since I paid for them, I can’t do something as simple as listen to  songs on an iPod? What? (NOTE: there might have been a way to authorize the iPod or blah blah, but at that point I was just frustrated and didn’t want to troubleshoot and figure out something that shouldn’t be that difficult.)

Now, when I offer a product (like my e-books over there in the right-hand column) for sale, I want to provide a quality product at a fair price. I want my customers to get a pristine file, the best one available. I ensure that it looks good, has no formatting problems, no typos, and it’s the newest and best version. If someone is paying me money, I want them to have a pleasant, easy experience. I want them to get value for their money — so even if there were a pirated version of my e-books floating around out there, I want the customer who buys from me to get a superior product. I want their $2.99 to buy them peace of mind (knowing they’re doing the right thing and supporting the author), a pristinely-formatted file, “tech support” if they have issues with it, and the ability to legitimately use that file and enjoy it — even if they trade in their Nook for a new Kindle 3.

And that’s why I don’t put DRM on my files (NOTE: e-books you buy directly from my website have no DRM, and neither do my e-books at Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords. Apple, Kobo, and Sony currently put DRM on files and there’s no way for me to opt out of it, like I did with Amazon.) If a customer asks, I’m also happy to send them my e-books in any other format they’d like. It’s not that I support piracy — in fact, I think many “anti-DRM” arguments are actually “I want stuff for free” rationalizations. And I’m not supporting taking DRM off files that have it — that’s against the law. But I personally generally avoid buying files that have DRM attached — there are plenty of DRM-free e-books out there that I choose to buy instead.

So, back to my song problem. I have the iPod connected, and my choice is now: (a) buy another copy of these songs through my wife’s account or figure out how to “authorize” her iPod, (b) not have the songs I paid for on the iPod, (c) find a way to download something to strip the DRM off the files (against the law), or (d) download pirated copies of the songs I paid for and not have to deal with DRM at all (also illegal, but by far the easiest and quickest solution). This is why, in my opinion, DRM is broken: it doesn’t actually stop piracy, it just annoys legitimate customers — even to the point of pushing them toward piracy! Maybe someday they’ll invent some better, less invasive form of DRM, but the way it is today just sucks.

So, what would you do? And why should DRM force purchasers to make that choice?

Musical Theme to Right Ascension (.mp3)

 Posted by at 4:51 PM  Tagged with: ,
Aug 162010

Inspired by a reader who found the Right Ascension Theme and enjoyed listening to it on her Nook as she read the e-book, I thought I’d highlight the musical score that my good friend John Main created to accompany the novel. (You can find a synthesizer version and a guitar version at the link above.) John delivered a haunting score that mirrored the plot arc of Right Ascension: from the mystery surrounding the discovery of a new alien species, to the suspense and buildup as the story progressed, and the climactic showdown at the end.

Please feel free to listen using the player below or download it to listen on your computer or mp3 player — or even on your Kindle or Nook while you read the e-book version of Right Ascension. And please be sure to leave any comments you might have below — I’ll be sure to forward them on to John.

The "Right Ascension Theme"
Original musical score composed by John F. Main ©

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Jul 172010

I’ve just spent the day trying to figure out why my latest novel, The Twiller, hadn’t been uploaded to the Apple iBook Store through Smashwords, even though I had uploaded it over a month ago. Mark Coker was kind enough to email me back and let me know that the ePub file (which Smashwords’ “Meatgrinder” automatically generates from a Microsoft Word .DOC file that I upload) wasn’t passing the dreaded “epubcheck” utility. And Apple doesn’t accept e-books that don’t pass epubcheck.

After a good amount of research and frustration, I thought I’d share my findings (and simple solution!) here in the hopes that another author might stumble across this and save some time.

The errors that epubcheck was returning were:

ERROR: the-twiller.epub/tmp_03d606bf0366e819944069e10952257f _Mh81jI.fixed.tidied.xfixed_split_000.html(12): bad value for attribute “name”

ERROR: the-twiller.epub/tmp_03d606bf0366e819944069e10952257f _Mh81jI.fixed.tidied.xfixed_split_000.html(33): bad value for attribute “name”

(These were repeated several times, for each chapter or section in my e-book.) By opening the ePub file in Sigil, I was able to figure out that line 12 of each section was the “Author” attribute, and line 33 was an attribute called “Matter No.” The simple fix involves opening your Word document and clicking on File ——> Properties. Somehow, the “Author” name was set as “( )”, which epubcheck didn’t like. So make sure at least your title and author name are filled in, and they should probably be only letters (no weird symbols).

The second attribute, “Matter No.” appeared under the “Custom” tab of Word’s Properties window. For some reason, Word had added a whole bunch of custom fields into the document, including “Matter No.”, which I don’t think epubcheck liked due to the period. Maybe I had opened some legal document that had all those weird legal fields added, and Word saved them (I told you being a lawyer was frustrating!). Anyway, I removed all of these custom fields by highlighting them and clicking “delete.”

Since I didn’t have this problem with my first two e-books, and I recently “upgraded” (yes, I use the term loosely) from Word 2004 for Mac to Word 2008 for Mac, I figure that might be the culprit. In any event, fortunately, the solution is simple — just tidy up the “Title,” “Author,” and any custom fields your document has under Word’s “Properties…” dialog in the “File” menu.

I just uploaded the new version to Smashwords, and it passed epubcheck, so it will hopefully show up in the Apple iBook Store soon!

UPDATE: That did the trick! The Twiller is now available in the Apple iBook Store. 🙂

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Jun 242010

Borders and the digital future

I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing the emerging digital future of books on this blog, as it’s a topic I’m passionate about as both a reader and an author. But I’ve also spoken before about how bookstores don’t need to die alongside the decline of printed books, they can evolve and remain relevant, useful, and even profitable. And I also mentioned how Barnes & Noble seems to “get it,” and is doing a good job focusing on e-books and e-book readers (like their Nook), and is even offering a number of generous promotions for free e-books, coffee, and cookies — and they just lowered the price of the Nook to $199 and the Nook Wi-Fi to just $149.

There’s also evidence that Borders, America’s #2 bookstore behind B&N, “gets” e-books and is serious about embracing the digital future. Borders partnered with Kobo, which makes a nice entry-level e-book reader for $149, and which offers a nice selection of e-book titles in its online store. Borders is also coming out with its own e-book reader and e-book store. Today, I read this article in Fortune magazine by Michael Edwards, CEO of Borders. He talks about how he sees the direction the market is heading and the growth of e-books — it’s good to see someone who doesn’t just stick their head in the sand — but argues that bookstores can remain relevant in the digital age. He claims that “There will always be plenty of people who welcome the opportunity to read words on paper rather than staring into yet another glowing screen.” (Of course, that’s what I like about my Kindle compared to an iPad — the e-Ink screen mimics paper and doesn’t glow.) He talks about how bookstores are still a place for social interaction, discussing books, sipping coffee, browsing magazines, going to author signings, and more. He ends with a surprisingly forward-thinking paragraph:

“Ultimately, there’s no reason traditional bookstores and digital booksellers can’t co-exist; for all their common ground, each offers a substantially different value proposition. Of course, the onus is on booksellers to prove their continued relevance in the digital age. If they continue to innovate in the services and experiences they offer and the ways they engage the community, consumers will continue to make bookstores a vital part of their lives. If they fail to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer needs, they’ll deserve the empty aisles — and cash registers — that result. The next chapter is up to them.”

While I’ve heard that Borders is in financial trouble, I’d like to see a company with such a forward-thinking attitude pull through the tough times and stick around. Contrast the realistic, modern, and customer-friendly words and actions of B&N and Borders with the “Big 6” book publishers — who seek to “protect physical books as long as we can” by raising e-book prices, blocking lending and text-to-speech, delaying releases, and other anti-customer tactics.

Although I’ve gone over almost exclusively to reading e-books, I still enjoy bookstores and would like for them to continue to exist as places devoted to readers. It’s through forward-thinking and innovative ideas like developing their own e-book readers and e-book stores, and offering free e-books and other incentives to get people into bookstores, that bookstores can remain relevant long into the digital age.

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What Are They Thinking?

 Posted by at 12:57 AM  Tagged with: ,
May 222010

What a deal!

There have been numerous complaints from readers about unreasonably high e-book prices. Consumers rightfully feel that e-books, which have zero printing, storage, shipping, or returns costs, should cost less than printed books. Publishers have responded by claiming that all those costs only add up to 10% of the total cost of a book (which raises the question why we’re being charged 10x that amount, and why $2.50 hardcovers are sold for $25?). Even if we believe that 10% figure, the e-book should still cost less than the cheapest printed version (and most e-books do), no matter what kind of creative math publishers try to use.

However, a distressing number of e-books are priced at the same price as the paperback equivalents, or are often discounted from the hardcover price, but cost the same or more than the available paperback version. Also, publishers like to compare e-book prices to hardcover list prices, which almost no one pays (that $25 hardcover costs $9-$12 at Amazon, Costco, or Walmart, and even B&N offers 30% or 40% off bestsellers).

However, I recently came across an absolute abomination of pricing, one that shows just how badly the big publishers don’t get it. The book is the “authorized” sequel to Douglas Adams’ hilarious Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s called And Another Thing, by Eoin Colfer. The book was OK, but I was a little disappointed by it (true, Adams is a tough act to follow).

Anyway, check out the following price points of this book, which I bought in hardcover from a bargain bin a few months ago for just $4.48 at B&N.

  • Hardcover, new, from Amazon: $9.87
  • Paperback, new, from Amazon: $10.19
  • E-Book (Kindle version), from Amazon: $14.29

Now, let me get this straight: the e-book, which you don’t have to print or ship anywhere, costs almost 50% more than the hardcover, over $4 more than the paperback, and more than triple what I paid for the hardcover in a bookstore? (By the way, the prices are similar over at B&N and elsewhere, so it’s not just Amazon that’s wonky here.) If this isn’t proof that some large publishers are trying their best to kill e-books before e-books kill them, I don’t know what could be.

My question to the publisher (Hyperion), with all due respect, is: What the hell are you thinking??

May 062010

No such thing as a free lunch

The enticing title of this post refers to a phrase created to distinguish between two meanings of the word “free.” There is “free as in beer,” meaning free of charge, and sometimes referred to as “gratis” (from the Latin). This is contrasted with “free as in speech,” meaning free from restriction or censorship, and also referred to as “libre.” (As one who loves language, the conflation of two separate ideas into one word strikes me as an odd quirk and a fascinating bit of inefficiency in English, but I digress.)

Sadly, we’re not talking about beer today. What we’re talking about is the commonly-held idea that information on the Internet “should” be free — free as in beer. (Most of us reading this from outside the halls of the capitol at Pyongyang would agree that most information and news should be libre: free as in speech.) Visit any forum or online discussion about digital content (such as e-books, TV shows like Hulu, online newspapers, etc.), and dozens of people will tell you that information “wants” to be free, “needs” to be free, or “should” be free on the Internet. They will point out that hosting a website and transmitting data across the globe is a relatively trivial expense — and they’re right.

What many fail to realize is that producing quality content (whether it’s a well-written and well-edited novel or a well-researched news story) takes plenty of human labor, and that content is worth more than just the cost of the paper and ink to print it. Let’s look at newspapers for a moment. Newspapers everywhere are struggling. For about a decade now, most newspapers have spent a great deal of time, money, and effort developing slick websites to bring you all the news from their print versions — with additional perks like videos, more color pictures, and discussion forums — in order to enable their customers to stop paying for newspaper subscriptions. (Sure, you could argue this wasn’t the best business model, but hindsight is 20/20.) The idea was to make enough money on online advertising to recoup the lost subscription revenue plus pay for the additional web design and hosting costs they incur.

That idea has failed. Ad revenue is not enough to keep newspapers running right now. Internet advertising is just not very effective anymore, and advertisers are paying less and less per impression (how many of us totally ignore web banners and block pop-up windows?). Newspapers are taking big losses, laying off editors and reporters (which reduces the quality), and going out of business.

Of course, it’s a vicious cycle. Newspapers lose money, reduce the pay of journalists, lay off editors, stop sending reporters on fact-finding missions, and the quality of their writing goes down to the point that many are just regurgitating articles from the Associated Press — which we can get for free at dozens of places online, so why would I pay for access to The Miami Herald’s website? Now that newspapers have trained Internet users that information should be free (as in beer), it is proving very difficult to convince anyone to pay for online or digital content. Especially so long as other avenues keep giving it away for free. (Note that the continued chorus of Internet users in support of the “free” model is based on the fact that 95% of Internet users are content consumers and maybe 5% are content producers trying to pay rent. It’s kinda like having 9 wolves and a sheep vote on what’s for dinner.)

The problem is that quality, well-researched, neutral, accurate information is worth paying for. Good writing, good editing, investigative journalism, flying reporters to locations to uncover stories — that’s worth paying for. What some random blogger thinks about something he may or may not know anything about — that should be free. 🙂

On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal (to pick one example) seems to be making the same mistake LOTS of digital media (news, books, music, movies, etc.) producers are: overcharging. Customers know that it costs less to stream a TV show than create, package, and ship a DVD. It costs less to email an e-book than to print and ship a hardcover. And the WSJ’s costs go down if they can get rid of their printing presses and stop buying paper and ink by the ton.

Digital media producers are very slow in understanding that the marginal cost of selling 1 more digital download is close to zero. So it’s better to sell 5x as many (e-books, subscriptions, streaming movies) at 1/2 the cost. It’s a win-win. But, when I can get a DVD for $1 from Redbox, I’m not gonna pay $5 to stream it online. When the library is free and bargain books are a few bucks, I won’t pay over $10 for fiction e-books. When a print mag is $2 an issue, why am I paying $5 for a digital download? And why does a $3.99/week iPad WSJ subscription cost more than a $2.99/week print newspaper (that takes paper and ink and trucks and delivery people)? People aren’t stupid. I like my iPad, but I didn’t all of a sudden forget basic math.

There is a middle ground: free is an unsustainable model if you want quality content, and overcharging will kill the model just as quickly. Higher volume at lower prices is the great opportunity of digital content.

Now, if only things worked the same way for beer ….