This morning, I sat down to write a blog entry that was going to be called “The World Turned Upside Down”. It was going to start with a quote from David Halberstam’s book The Powers That Be. I remembered a line about how power had passed from the wire services to television in the 1960s, based on where reporters got to sit in the motorcade.
I searched my bookshelf for Halberstam’s book, and when I could not find it (it’s probably in one of the boxes downstairs), I googled it on the web.
Normally, when you google a book, the first reference you get is to its listing in Amazon. But this time, when I googled Halberstam’s book, I got a reference called google.books.
This was a new one for me, so I followed the link.
Here, astonishingly, is the entire book!
All 747 pages of it.
There is something here, for if Google can make all of this book available to everyone in the world for free, then they can do the same with every book ever written or every book that is going to be written in the future. And if they can do this with books, they can also do this with music, TV shows, movies, art, videos and just about anything else. The sum total of all human productivity can now be placed in 3 billion homes any time, all the time, 24-hours a day, for free.
This is an astonishing event in the world of markets.
In a stroke, the cost of paper, printing, ink, distribution, Barnes and Noble, carpeting, lights, trucks and so much more, have all been wiped clean. It changes the basic economics of everything.
And even if web based advertising brings in 10 cents each dollar that conventional television used to bring it, it does not matter, because the cost of production and distribution has been shattered. Shattered.
David Halberstam direct to you, via google.
Its a new world.
And it has not even started yet.