Monday, September 17, 2007

How Do you Say "Sustainable Reading" in Chinese?

Martin Daniels of The Booksellers Association brings us this story about an interesting business model coming all the way from Shanghai, which allows book readers to get their books for free by allowing sponsors to plant advertisings in the pages. Sounds familiar? No wonder, this is more or less the business model that keeps most of the content on the internet free, and many free magazines floating. Only this time we're talking printed books. Yep, it's time for China to teach us something about innovative business ideas, and BookGG may be just the first of many.

So how does this work? Martin Daniels explains:

"The consumer selects the book and then selects the sponsors with their placement on your book until the price of the book drops to zero. The book is then printed and posted.

For every free book, you need to have a book ticket, which you get once you have registered. You then earn further book tickets by referring new users or orders or buying into an account, which will issue new tickets every month.

Every advertising sponsor can only be selected by an individual once so promoting you to spread your sponsors and in effect find out about others. The sponsor receives all personal information.

Finally the books are printed on demand by Bookgg and contain your sponsors adverts."

So although I personally don't relish the idea of flipping through my new book while being annoyed by ads, I do believe that I would go for it to get a very expensive book I really want for half the price. And frankly I don't mind my purchases being sponsored, especially when I can choose the sponsor, and if sponsors are categorized for me with some conscious labels such as "fair-trade" and "organic".

But what most appeals to me from a Sustainable Reading point of view is the fact, that a successful venture like this in the west can also help popularize print-on-demand technology, which is apparently already quite popular in oh so unsustainable, or so they say, China.

So let's wait and see, shall we?

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!