During the past decade, the massive worldwide conversion of learning content from print and other older media on to digital networks has created gatekeepers who limit access to their digital content or require online users to pay for it.
A variety of gatekeepers have made a third choice:
August 17, 2006
Cory Doctorow on Win-Win Publishing
For creative folks who might be thinking of sticking a toe into the open content online swamp, Cory Doctorow’s advice is to dive right in at the deep end, as he has. A man of many accomplishments, he is a leader of the new publishing era where open digital, Internet distribution is the formula for both fame and fortune.
On the website for his recent science fiction novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Doctorow provides this download invitation for the full text of the book:
There are a few restrictions for redistribution of the book, such as not allowing anyone to copy its cover artwork by Dean McKean, because it does not belong to Doctorow. As he has for almost everything he has written, this top science fiction writer both sells and gives away his writing. He tells us in his online biography that by this process he makes money.
Cory Doctorow was born in 1971. He relates in his biography that he learned to type before he learned to write cursively, and that he has “spent most of my life behind a keyboard.” As the Internet took off, he entered his twenties and became an interpreter of the digital future and an activist for “uploading liberty in technology law, policy and standards.” He has also become well known as the co-editor of Boing-Boing the most visited blog online (according to Technorati), and for his science fiction novels.
Cory Doctorow’s win-win situation is a model that education can follow to the enormous benefit of the new global generation that is typing with it thumbs before it talks. Open education resources that can freely flow into the developing world would be a wonderful win for millions of children who now have few or no hardcopy learning materials. There is no reason to expect that—rescued from obscurity by being given away online—open education resources would not make money for their authors and publishers.