Robert Darnton wrote in a Chronicle Review essay that he believes there are five collective myths about the Information Age.
These five myths are:
1. The book is dead.
2. We have entered the information age.
3. All information is now available online.
4. Libraries are obsolete.
5. The future is digital.
I am not going to attempt to tackle all five myths in this blog post. I think that Robert Darnton did a good job of describing why he believes they are myths in his essay.
I do, however, want to highlight Myth #3: All information is now available online. While much information is available online, not all of it is free, nor is it easily accessible, nor is it always up-to-date and accurate. I run into this myth time and time again.
I find that some new authors and publishers don’t see a need to “purchase” information to help them in publishing and marketing their books. These individuals have subscribed to a few blogs and discussion groups, and read free articles on the Internet. They feel that this minimal research provides the information they need to effectively publish and promote their books.
Here is where the myth takes over. No one gives away their “premium” service for free. Many companies are now built on the model of giving away a scaled-down version of a piece of software that has some, but not all, the features of the full-priced model. The idea is to hook the customer so that they will want the full-version model and pay for it.
The same is true for information. No one gives away their “premium” information for free. Rather, they give away good information in the hopes of hooking the reader to purchase the premium information.
If you are only relying on blogs and discussion groups to get the information you need to publish and market your books effectively, you are missing out on some great information and resources.
While there is great information available for free on the Internet, I have found that there is also misinformation that circulates on blogs and in discussion groups that can end up leading authors and publishers astray. Sometimes authors and publishers that aren’t experience only know a piece of the puzzle and end up giving misleading or inaccurate information to others.
It is far better to pay a little money to get information that is up-to-date and accurate than to try and save a few bucks by thinking all the information you need is available free on the Internet. Money invested in premium information is never wasted.