Last week I blogged about why we should all start paying for content on the internet. Thank you for your comments and for helping to spread it around.
It occurred to me the other day that there is a more important reason why we should be paying other than simply to encourage people who are creating content that we value.
We have an enormous opportunity to shape the way digital content is priced and delivered.
Does your local grocery store carry ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ foods and produce? Is there more of it today than there was 5 years ago? Look at the price tag for those foods. It’s probably noticeably higher than their non-organic or processed counterparts. So why are they filling grocery stores all over the country? Because people voted for them by paying for them.
This is the perfect example of how demand can shape what is being offered and we can do the same on the internet.
We’re doing this now without even thinking about it. In fact, it’s the reason digital content is much more popular than books or newspapers.
When considering whether or not to purchase something, there are some questions you can think about:
Do you prefer your ebooks and comics as PDF’s or would you rather have access to it without having to download a file?
Will you pay more for something by your favorite creator or do you want the prices to be standard?
Should digital content always be free and supplemented with lots of advertising or are you willing to pay for it so that it is advertisement-free?
What is the price-point at which you will no longer purchase digital content?
There is no right answer to these questions, at least not yet, but we need to cast our vote and be more deliberate about what we pay for online and how much we’re willing to pay for it so that others don’t always make the decisions for us.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice where or how we purchase digital content. When you do have a choice, think about how you want the future of digital content to look. If we make a conscious effort to shape it the way we want now, then we won’t be dissatisfied with our options in the future.
What are some other ways we can help shape the future of digital?
I would recommend reading the latest blog post over at the Paper Wings Podcast and listening to their interview with Comfort Love and Adam Withers about the future of comics online. Adam Withers specifically references the move to digital and he makes what is probably a very accurate prediction about the pervasiveness of tablets and other digital devices.