Dan Gillmor forced to choose between traditional publishing and a CC license. Guess which he chooses?
Dan Gillmor got an offer from a publisher for his “Mediactive” book (“a user’s guide to democratized media”), but the publisher wouldn’t agree to publish it under a Creative Commons license. So, he’s self-publishing it at Lulu. He’s doing this on principle, but also for pragmatic reasons:
… the main reason I’m still getting royalty checks for We the Media is that the book has been available as a free download since the day it went into bookstores. Had we not published it that way, given the indifference (at best) shown by American newspapers and magazines, the book would have sunk without a trace.
Of course, Dan’s motive is not primarily financial:
…this isn’t just a book, at least not way traditional publishers understand books even as they dabble online.
To publishers, books are items they manufacture and send out in trucks. Or else they’re computer files to be rented to publishers’ customers, or customers of Amazon, Apple and other companies that use proprietary e-reading software to lock the work down in every possible way. In both cases, publishers crave being the gatekeepers.
Mediactive aims to be a multi-faceted project. Over the next few years, I hope to experiment in lots of media formats and styles with the ideas here. And â€” this is key â€” I also plan to experiment with it in the broader context of the emerging ecosystem of ideas.
Dan reports that the folks at Lulu.com (where â€” product placement alert â€” you can get a copy of my young adult book, My $100 Million Secret â€” are being helpful and creative about supporting books in the new ecosystem. Plus, it’ll be available at Lulu this summer, instead of the year it would have taken to get it onto shelves via the traditional route.
Since Dan is one of the most admirable people around, It would be fun as a community to make his book a success in every way, from spreading its ideas to selling a whole bunch of copies…