Legacy media: Will I someday be driving this old car?

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old-car-books-video copy
By Darren Johnson

Publisher

Driving through Brockton, Mass., on my newspaper route, I passed by this car on a road my GPS took me on. After a half mile or so, I had the urge to U-Turn, go back, and snap some photos. I probably will have a use for one of the pics some day, other than for this chat.

I often write for publications, so perhaps this photo can be inspiration for one of my essays. A common theme of mine is “the changing media.”

Here, we have an old car that looks really old and on the roof an ad for Videos, DVDs (which are different than videos, I take it) and Books.

Will those three mediums go the way of the old car? Rusted and unwanted? Will they be physical objects that you can actually buy, or just bits and bytes that show up on your device?

How does this change the business model?

As someone who writes and also plays around in other arts, I think I like the new business model better. Sure, there is piracy, but an author makes no money off of used books. Once a book is sold as “new” the first time, the royalty is over. Sell a new book for $10, maybe get $1.50 and that’s that – forever. That book can be sold a hundred more times at used book stores and the author doesn’t see a dime. Maybe it’s a first edition and becomes a collector’s item, worth $500. Still, the author gets nothing from the resales.

This is pretty much true for hard copies of movies, video games, art, etc. Practically in all media, a sale only benefits the creator once.

But in a future where everything is on a cloud, sales can be counted — nothing is “used” – so the creator gets paid per set of eyeballs.

For the consumer, this can be better, too, in that prices in general are lower for cyber products vs. hard copies. There is no middle man. No trees have to be ground to pulp, either. No cellophane packing. No shipping.

Part of me worries that I’m not keeping up with the times. That I will be driving this car some day…

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