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  • John Papajack

Rent or Buy?



Obviation is our business model!  

The only real options now for digital media are, in a sense, rent, buy or lease.

Rent: you can pay for access to a streaming site. Access stops the moment you stop paying. Great for short term use, very bad idea for long term use.

Lease: Most EReader devices have locked infrastructure. You cant move a kindle book to a nook without breaking the DRM. This makes all your collected literature subject to planned obsolescence with the introduction of a new media format or by simply changing delivery platforms. move from Barnes and Noble to Amazon or vica-versa. 

Buy:  This obviously has the greatest useful life for your collection but now requires you to change file formats by hand or sync new devices with add on utilities or any number of other hoops to jump through. Remember that some of us have txt files that can be over 30 years old and are still useful if converted.

Amazon more or less IS the web at this point. there are other players and other places to go of course but a ever increasing chunk all goes through them.

Is this really necessary>?

Im exploring the concept of Obviation in so far as removing even the very reason for an online bookstore at all. There are so many fantastic writers dying to get the exposure their hard work deserves but Amazon's sole function is to create a consensus on what is considered good and push those titles through placement and recommendation lists. This is not my version of a conspiracy theory, it does in fact make good business sense. Nonetheless, it becomes very exclusive and more narrow as time goes by. We now have 1% of writers who get the lion's share of attention. Not to detract in any way from a writer's success, I've no doubt its well earned. Still though, not yet A-list writers and titles are all too often pushed off the page completely never to be seen at all. This saddens me and yes, i have a way around the problem.

Shortwave is a pretty interesting hardware device as a book reader but one of the non-glamorous features is simply the default function of human nature. That is to say, people often just keep listening rather than continuing to skip ahead too often. When a book from a undiscovered writer starts playing, You are very likely to simply let it continue and see what its about. This effectively puts all novels on equal footing based on merit, not recomendation. Not skipping to the next novel is an indication it still has your attention. A famous writer may have a so-so novel that gets skipped over if it begins to drag on.  

The listeners have a tremendous opportunity to discover new talent and new writing styles to help broaden their overall tastes in literature. Saving their favorite books on Shortwave entices Listeners to complete the series to hear what happens next. They can also enjoy them again in the future, so good writes are not forgotten so easily. Now your reading audience can follow your work for updates on new releases and find more in a given series of novels. Win-Win. What's not to like about this?

And yes, Shortwave can sync to a Kindle, Nook, or Ipad for reading. Not everyone is big on Audiobooks of course.

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