The Long Snout: A business model for online information

The internet revolution has proved a headache for most information providers. How are you going to charge for online access? Tim O’Reilly seems to be close to cracking the problem for book publishing:

What’s so important about this business model is that it puts a significant price on online access. One of our biggest concerns as we move to an online information economy is the development of business models that cover the cost of content development. Models that treat print as primary and assign small value to an online copy, or give it away for free (as some publishers have done over the years) will end up on the trash heap once online access becomes the preferred mode (as it already is for many people.) While we also need to reduce the cost of developing content, quality doesn’t come for free.

The rest of the article titled The Long Snout is well worth a read.