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I notice that a lot of computer and programming books are now licensed under various permutations of the creative commons license. Half of the books published by No Starch Press and Apress (at least the ones I looked at) seem to be available directly or indirectly under creative commons licensing.

What is the business model for creative commons books? Does it hurt sales? Does it help sales by creating more buzz around a book? Has the wide availability of pirated copies (and pirated PDFs) of traditionally copyrighted books affected the book publishing world, and does this help or hinder the creative commons licensing process? How does the advent of ebooks factor in?

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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Jan 2 '12 at 15:20

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

From the publisher's point of view, paperback version is still in high demand. I prefer paperback and stopped to buy electronic book after several attempts. From the author point of view, releasing a (great) book is a guarantee of lot of gigs. –  Pierre 303 Jan 1 '12 at 15:34

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The fact is, you don't write books for money in science or IT: from the pure financial point of view, it's worthless: you'll spend months or years of work while gaining not too much from sales as the author.

Instead, writing books is a good way:

  • to become popular,
  • to show your deep knowledge in a specific field.

In both cases, Creative Commons only helps.

As for the publisher, as Pierre 303 mentioned in his comment, people will still buy paper version of books, even if they are able to get a digital copy (illegally or not), just because it's easier to read, just because... it's real. I want to own books that are worth it. As for books which are not very good, I wouldn't buy them even if they were available for free online.

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