More notes from the TOC Conference! (Although many fellow conference go-ers had their laptops and iPhones ready to go, I decided to kick it old school and bring my trusty, yellow legal pad.)

– The last morning session I attended was “Challenging the Notions of Free.” Free is not new in publishing – galleys, ARCs – this is all free content. Though digital sampling is on the rise, there are few examples of free, full content.

– Publishers are trying to bring old channel marketing to the web. Session asserted you had to work with the web first before you can see the potential for piracy.

– P2P filesharing threat may be overstated. Study found a low incidence of pirated files, and an average lag time of 20 weeks from publication before a pirated file popped up on pirating sites.

– In the same study, they found a correlation between a growth of print sales and “seeds” (distributors) on P2P sites. Seeds peaked really quickly once they were found on P2P sites, and the leeches (illegal downloads) peaked at week 2. By week 6, 2 out of the 6 books that were found on the P2P site were no longer being downloaded.

– Random House and O’Reilly are looking for other publishing partners to share their data, in order to get a bigger sample and make sure the data isn’t skewed in this small sample study.

– The future of news is local! 2/3rds of Americans are disastisfied with local journalism.

– The panel on The Future of News presentation believes that we’ll soon see a more distributed model of news as foreign correspondents are pulled back and locals with credibility are used instead.

– When a generation expects to be able to try a large amount of content for free, it collapses the fair value model. Big businesses need to react.

– The BISG studied for the first time the environmental impact that US publishing has on the planet. They found that we printed 4.15 billion books in 2006, using 1.6 million metric tons of paper (30 million trees, or 1,000 Central Parks.) Carbon footprint estimated at 12.4 million metric tons.

– The amount of post-consumer content in book paper is growing, though there are still a ways to go. Publishers are recommended to use more recycled paper in books, maximize the use of certified paper, reduce the base weights of paper, and use Partially Chlorine Free (PCF) or Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) paper.

– Cracking the returns system is the greatest thing the industry can do to reduce their carbon footprint.

– Youth are bringing a shifting perspective to the way content is created. In 2004, the PEW/Internet Study found that 1/2 of teens had created content. In 2007, it was up to 2/3rds. (Youth and Creativity session)

– Most teens receive (and will expect to receive) feedback to what they post online.

– Teens are acting as digital apprentices, teaching each other how to use tools to create the desired results through chatboards and other digital means.

– Instead of asking how to use “x tool” in a program, they will ask “how do I make x?” Creative software isn’t learned as a skill, it’s used when needed.

– Teens treat the content they create as disposable, creating one site and then moving on to the next idea.

– Chris Baty spoke on NaNoWriMo and how a shared experience grew the NaNoWriMo community. He says the best way to do this is to “give something big, fun and terrifying to do together.”

– Baty says, “In the end, books win.” and “Writing novels feels great!” (I agree!)

Nina Paley of described a new business model in which content is free, and the containers aren’t free. You can use an unlimited resource (content) to add value to the limited resource (the container – CDs, merch, books, etc.) Free release only works though if the content is good.

– Paley says that businesses that are going to survive will be getting out of licensing, and into servicing.

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