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Subject:  Re: OT: Man in the White Suit Date:  2/15/2009  2:12 PM
Author:  markr33 Number:  25978 of 36087

<<I don't understand where you are going with this argument about 35mm cameras.>>

I'm probably ahead of the curve on this one, and maybe I'll be wrong. It is true that an initial phase with digital cameras involved people printing out pictures, making written scrap-books/albums, etc. (Before our camera died, every time we sent pictures to my mother-in-law, she would print them out on the very cheap printer that came free with the computer, now 10 years old, and she doesn't know how to change the cartridge.) But I think we are moving into the YouTube era, so whatever money is to be made will come from the internet revenue source, which I still believe is ultimately a "You show me yours, I'll show you mine" economic model (there just isn't enough off-line stuff to buy to support the monster).

It seems like we think alike about many of these things. But reality so far has turned out to be somewhat different. While I used to use a few 24 exposure rolls, and maybe a few 36 exposure rolls, a year, today I take thousands of photos every year. Obviously I don't print them all, but I print some of them, email a whole bunch more, and share almost all of them. Just 5 minutes ago, I arrived back home with my in-laws after seeing an apartment nearby that they are interested in purchasing. I took 29 photos and they are uploading right now so they can be viewed from everywhere. None of these will be printed, BUT in the age of film, I wouldn't have taken ANY of these pictures at all in the first place.

I predicted the end of academic publishing back in the xerox machine era, when we could xerox articles and books (supposedly legal for personal use, but like, who cares) for a fraction to cost of subscriptions and arcane books (or even university press books). With word processing and email and then the internet, that we can share work with colleagues (and others) faster and for next to nothing in costs became obvious—the "peer review" quality control issue is a red herring. But the erosion of the power of the academic publishing industry (remember, academic authors don't get paid anything) is taking a long, long time. (There are cracks and in some scientific fields, where time is of the essence, what I like to call samizdat, a.k.a., pre-publication sharing, has become the norm—samizdat was the way censored writings were passed around during the Soviet era: the practice, though not the term, goes back to Tzarist Russia.)

Well, about 30 years ago while in college (engineering), I spent at least $250 a semester on books (I remember that most semesters, but not all, my regents scholarship covered my books and that scholarship was $250 a semester). A few years ago some of my younger cousins were often spending $400-450 on books per semester! Even the arcane stuff is published, my brother-in-law finished his doctorate a year or two ago and his dissertation was published the usual way with a low run of copies. In the IT and computing fields, there are thousands upon thousands of new books being printed every year, Prentice-Hall is still alive and kicking.

I also predicted email would be the end of mail-box fillers (everything from secretaries who consider making birthday posters part of their job descriptions to administrators who produce tomes that never get past the recycling bin, or trash can before that). But from when we first started using Eudora and Word (the real revolution, before the internet, c. 1990), until 3-5 years ago, there was a proliferation of paper, basically both hard copy and digital copy, with even more silliness, because it had become easier to make birthday greetings and administrative tomes. But now, for most things, we need to request hard copy. We are now in the process of negotiating with students over posting course materials on line only and letting those who want to print them out. (There is also the dirty secret that course packs with copyright material cost an arm and a leg, but most articles and even some book chapters we might assign are available on line through the e-library subscription system.)

Nevertheless, my mail box is still filled with junk most of the time.

Anyway, there are a lot of vested interests in postponing the inevitable consequences of the internet (including the birthday poster secretary and the academic publisher, not to mention the film and music industries). But eventually, as we move completely from hard copy, the amount of labor needed to produce stuff for people to buy outside the digital domain will continue to be reduced. Which is why finding a way to pay people who produce the content, not the hard copy, is essential

Yes, a good model to pay for content would be desirable. I don't think the use of advertising to pay for content can last forever.
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