That was something I definitely didn’t see coming. The digital copy of Quakebook available on Amazon US, UK, DE and the Sony Reader is now free. With over 3,000 downloads from Amazon in the 2 months since it was published, the Quakebook team has decided to make the ebook free. In 12 hours after doing so, over 3000 more people downloaded the book.
The plan was laid out in a recent blog post on Quakebook.org. Here’s the section that outlines why this decision was made.
Here’s the plan:
1. Thousands more will download the book for free.
2. Some of them will donate cash to the Japan Red Cross.
3. Many of them won’t (but would they have done anyway?)
4. Suddenly the audience will be exponentially bigger.
5. Even if a tiny proportion of those free downloaders decide they’d like a print copy of the book, we will be raising far more than by keeping a digital book priced at $9.99 which acts as a paywall against potential interested readers.
The bilingual print copy will be available in Japan in two weeks and will sell for 1400 yen. A hardback version will be sold in North America and the UK for $20. You can order either from Amazon. For the bilingual version, go to Amazon.co.jp and apparently they’ll ship it to anywhere in the world. (Why did I ship my copy to a friend in Japan then?? DAMN!)
Here’s the catch though, if you want a copy of this book you can go ahead and order it through Amazon, but if you really want to help out the book, and by book, I pretty much mean, the survivors in Tohoku and the Japanese Red Cross go to your local bookstore and order it there. They will then stock the book and others may buy it as well. It sounds like a pretty solid business plan to me. Print copies of books sell far more copies than ebooks ever do. If you’re not sure you want to do that, why not download the book and give it a read first, after all, it’s free.
On another quick note about Japan. Daniel Morales, a former Fukushima CIR and current New Orleans JETAA co-President, has returned to Japan this past week to help All Hands a volunteer NPO with Project Tohoku. He’s been blogging about his experience at How to Japonese, check it out if that interests you. The descriptions Dan provides are chilling and it gives you a good idea of how devastated the coast really has been when you’re not just looking at pictures but working to clean everything up.
Last, here’s a video that’s making it’s way across Facebook through the Fukushima JET community. Charlie Brooker on the Media’s Japan coverage. Cannot believe the woman in California, I did enjoy the use of the word disaster-vert though.