[opentextbooks] Funding Open Textbooks

Felix Breuer felix at fbreuer.de
Wed Jul 17 05:52:15 UTC 2013

Hi Dave!

Yes, trying to figure how to support full-time work on open content is the
big goal I am after :) Of course, the subscription models I worked out are
very speculative, given that even the basic "one time" Fund I/O model is
very unusual and (so far) untested in practice.

There are of course many organisations who achieve that one way or another.
Mozilla, for example, lives off advertising revenues from Google search. Do
you know how the Guardian Project earn their revenues? A great theoretical
analysis is Eric S. Raymond's classic The Magic
There are two aspects where Fund I/O is different from these approaches: A)
Users pay creators for the content directly. They do not pay indirectly by
selling their data or attention (as when clicking on an ad) or by buying
something else (the advertised product). This aligns incentives much
better. B) Users have a rational incentive to pay (as opposed to donation
models). This has the potential to dramatically increase the amount of
funds that can be raised. The drawback is of course that content is not
free from the start - but if the customers are "altruistic enough" it will
be made free eventually.

I agree that the FSF and CC people are much too focused on legal/activist
issues. It is great that they are doing this work! But I think that by
working more on the business side, the economic issues giving rise to the
legal conflict can be made to disappear almost entirely. We just need to be
more creative!

I am currently looking for a pilot project to try Fund I/O in practice - as
a learning/research experience, basically. Textbooks would make a great
domain, but there are many other possible applications. Do you have ideas
what a good pilot project could be?


On Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 11:51 AM, Dave Crossland <dave at lab6.com> wrote:

> Hi!
> On 16 July 2013 13:57, Felix Breuer <felix at fbreuer.de> wrote:
> >
> > I'd love to hear what people in this group think about this approach!
> I'm extremely happy to see that you've already posted a thoughtful
> description of how to apply this to model on a subscription basis for
> the maintenance of libre textbooks.
> http://blog.felixbreuer.net/2013/07/01/fund-io-as-a-business-model-for-crowdfunding-subscription-services.html
> http://blog.felixbreuer.net/2013/07/05/fund-io-as-a-business-model-for-websites-web-services-and-software-development.html
> --
> Cheers
> Dave
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