[LINK] better than free

grove at zeta.org.au grove at zeta.org.au
Wed Feb 13 10:59:07 EST 2008

On Tue, 12 Feb 2008, Kim Holburn wrote:

> Interesting ideas on copying and technology:
>> If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can 
>> we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free 
>> copies?

This reflects my thoughts about software exactly!  In the 80's when you 
bought software, you got a disk and a manual and neatly packaged box
about the size of a book.   So you got something tangible for your money
and you weren't spending much in the scheme of things.   If the software
was high end, the manual would come in a ring binder which made it 
look even more important and professional.    The little trick 
made it feel like people had bought something they could hold in their

These days, because software is such a disposable commodity and people 
do not like paying for something intangible, the trick is to package
everything in a huge box, with lots of padding, plus a manual the size 
of a telephone book and a bunch of slipcards for various offers, 
addons or amendments.    This is to make you feel good about 
spending your money on something that is actually intangible unless
you have a computer.

I suspect people would feel uncomfortable spending $100-$2500 on a piece
of software if all they got was a cd in a soft envelope and a pdf manual
so they pad it out with a giant box with shiny people on it having 
a good time....

What it has to do with copies is that software itself is a copy.
Once you've reached the ROI on the product by producing 1000, 3000, 
or 50000 copies or whatever, the copy is still intangible.   Theoretically
it is worth nothing now, so the packaging becomes a feelgood talisman
to reassure the customer that the valueless thing actually has some 


Rachel Polanskis                 Kingswood, Greater Western Sydney, Australia
grove at zeta.org.au                http://www.zeta.org.au/~grove/grove.html
 		The price of greatness is responsibility.

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