A refrain of the anti-intellectual property forces is that content producers need to come up with new business models, and then all will be well and we troglodyte property rights advocates can return to our caves.
Well, here is an interesting example. An article on energy in The Globe and Mail just caught my eye, and I decided to print a copy. The paper gave me four choices: (1) Print up to 5 copies free, with the ads; (2) Print up to 6 copies without ads for $0.30/$1.00 Cdn each; (3) Order 50 or more colored reprints at about $1.00/page; (4) Order more than 100 copies, customized with my logo, for a price to be negotiated.
I chose option #1, since my interests are research rather than distribution, so I don’t know how easy the payment options are. But go ahead, order a bunch; such experiments should be encouraged. I admit to skepticism; there is a lot of hopeful honor system thinking involved here, especially because my freebie contained a single unobrusive banner at the top, so the incentive to get clean copies for distribution is small. (C’mon guys; clutter it up a bit. Like an airline, that provides so little leg room that you happily pay a premium for an extra five inches.) On the other hand, options #3 & #4 look like real value added, so the paper may be willing to write off #2 and hope for some money from the others.
How long this has experiment has been running, I know not, but I plan to ping them.
As for the substance, the article is about an important thinker named Vaclav Smil – I have his Energy in Nature and Society, and he has written several other books, since he is one of those irritating people who can write faster than I can read. Any energy buff would be proud to receive a color copy of the piece with your corporate logo on it.