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The null set

March 26, 2012
by seth godin

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Ask a friend with a tablet (iPad or Fire) to show you her bookshelf.

More and more, you’ll see nothing. Emptiness.

When we juxtapose an ebook with a movie, Instagram or pigs that attack turtles, the ebook often loses.

One of the very real truths of our culture is being hidden in the dramatic shift from paper to ebook–lots of people are moving from paper to ‘no ebook’. For now, this is being concealed by the superreaders, ebook readers who are on a binge and buying more books than ever before.

If you’re a fan of reading or publishing, though, the real truth is sad. At $15 or $20 for an ebook, lots of people aren’t developing the online reading habit, and the industry is going to pay dearly for that in the decade to come.

My best suggestion: Every device shipped ought to come with a dozen entertaining bestsellers already on it, for free. Not all authors are open to subsidizing this seeding, but I sure am. Add five million or ten million readers to an author’s fan base and she’ll have no trouble at all making back the lost royalties, and publishers will soon discover that habits formed early last a long time.

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