HarperCollins gets it

books

While the music business is the most visible example of content being disseminated at no cost, at least one major player in the book industry seems to be learning from the foibles of the record labels.

As the NYT reports HarperCollins will begin allowing people to view entire books online from their site.

This quote sums up the rationale fairly well:

There is evidence that readers still buy books even if they can get the content free on the Web. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” a children’s novel illustrated with cartoons, was published online three years ago at Funbrain.com, an educational Web site. But the physical book has spent 42 weeks on the New York Times Children’s Chapter Books best-seller list.

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