I went to Larry Lessig's book signing event at the Stanford Law School last night. It was an inspiring evening - even by Lessig's standards. He told this amazing story about his publisher, Penguin, agreeing to allow free downloads of his book, Free Culture, under a Creative Commons license. The book was released 3 weeks ago.
In the last 3 weeks, Free Culture has been downloaded by several thousand users. It has been re-developed into 13 different formats - including a free audio book which was read by people around the world and submitted within days of the casual proposal on AKMA's blog.
Apparently, Penguin, the first major book publisher to go the route of allowing a free download of one of their published books, is getting numerous requests from authors who want to experiment with free downloads too. They've recognised a new model that works for sales and is fair, open and free at the same time.
What a beautiful story to tell.