Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


What a Sad Waste


Someone who likes his privacy sent me this link to an “Encyclopedia of Privacy.” It’s 672 pages, for $199. How many people are going to read that? How many copies are they going to sell?

Its sad that they’ve chosen to lock up all that work that way, rather than putting it somewhere where the world can see it.

4 comments on "What a Sad Waste"

  • Mike Rothman says:

    Do you propose they just give the book away? Or do you think the price is too high? It all depends on who their target audience is. If it’s consumers, then $199 may be too high. If it’s mid-sized business, it may be too low (will there be enough intrinsic perceived value with a $199 price point). The good news is that the market will tell them soon enough whether their pricing was correct. Markets are good like that.
    As a guy that does give away a tremendous amount of stuff every day, sooner or later there needs to be an economic model to back it up. Everyone should understand that.

  • Chris says:

    So Mike and Adam — you guys gonna write that $198 encyclopedia or what? :^)
    From the publisher’s site, it looks like this may be intended as a text book. If so, that “explains” why the price is so high. :^(

  • Adam says:

    I think it would be dandy to go put that work into Wikipedia, or some other generally available site, and then sell hard copy to those who want it. It would lead to their work being read far more widely.
    I have no doubt that economic models are needed. I’m curious what’s underlying this price point/effort. I’ve been contacted to contribute to these in the past-always for free, to enhance the quality of my publications list for academic credibility.

  • Arthur says:

    Actually, they should give the book away for free or at less a heck of a lot less than $199. Consider the fact that the publisher asked people to write chapters/sections in return for a copy of the finished work. I hope the copy editing is better in the finished copy then the posting looking for writers they posted at:

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