Copy-prevention hurts ebook sales, ebooks don’t hurt real-book sales

Eric Flint, a Baen Books author, has written an essay on his experiences with Baen’s free etext program, where readers are given free cleartext copies of current titles to download.

Flint shows good stats that suggest that giving away ebooks increases his sales, provided that there’s no copy protection mechanism embedded in the text. Stirring stuff!

Let me begin by posing a simple question. Does anyone have any real evidence that having material available for free online-whether legitimately or through piracy-has actually caused any financial harm to any author?

The entire argument for encryption rests precisely upon this PRESUMPTION. A presumption which has never once been documented or demonstrated-and which, to the contrary, has been cast into question any number of times.

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