Monday, November 16, 2009

Give out the short story, sell the novel

iTunes made it possible to sell small music elements (songs) without needing to buy the whole work -the record-. And it made sense, not only because many people used to buy a CD just because of one or two songs, but because the psychology of the price (hey, is just $,99) and because one song is easily consumed on its own.

Can the same be applied to single articles, tales, a short video and any kind of single multimedia piece? Or the 'small stuff' is condemned to be free int he internet? Bill Wasik, Senior Editor of Harper's Magazine, bets for the latter.

Is easy to see a chapter sample, a small video related to a bigger one or a short comic strip as the -free- hook for a future sell. I also understand that give away excerpts or examples is the better way to promote you as an artist or a content producer.

But does it mean that selling small pieces in the internet will be a mission impossible? I think so. At least if we think about isolated objects that can be consumed in less than 10 minutes. Compilations will be the only way for short pieces to get to the market.

So, why someone will pay $,99 for a song and not the same for a videoclip or $,1 for a newspaper article? Because the users are used to pay $,99 for a good quality mp3, but always have seen videos or read articles for free. The only way this habit could be changed is with such a great user experience that would become a value in itself.

When Wasik talks about the non profit business model for newspapers I guess that he's also thinking about this: how difficult is to make the users pay for what always was for free.


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