The economics of information
Originally published in tcworld e-magazine, July 2011
In Europe before the 1450s, books were precious, rare objects and were usually copied by hand over a period of months or years. Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press changed the economics of information distribution. The result of this change were less expensive books, greater literacy, and a challenge to those who benefited from restricting information. Today, the rise of the Internet has eliminated distribution costs as a barrier to entering the publishing market. With minimal equipment, anyone can publish his opinion in a blog or book, record and distribute a podcast, or deliver video content. What do these changes mean for technical communication? And what lesson can we learn from the changes that took place 560 years ago?
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