by Gary North
by Gary North
Lew Rockwell asked Jeffrey Tucker to run www.Mises.org in 1995. Tucker is a genius. Why do I think he is a genius? Because he knows how to borrow and then implement other people's great ideas. This is a sign of genius. "Steal from the best!"
One of the most important ideas he ever appropriated is Leonard E. Read's strategy of giving everything away. Read's Foundation for Economic Education published The Freeman, the monthly magazine of free market ideas. FEE copyrighted the magazine. Then it released everything into the public domain, unless an author requested copyright protection. Henry Hazlitt did. A few others did. Most authors did not. I was one of these, beginning 1967.
Why did he copyright the magazine if he gave everything away? To keep others from copyrighting it after FEE published it. Smart!
There was another reason. To get librarians to catalogue it, it had to have a Library of Congress catalogue number. FEE had to copyright the magazine to get this.
But wait! Aren't these also on FEE's website? Not in their original form.
You mean FEE sat on this collection of articles for 14 years, not posting this treasure? Yes. But isn't the Web Leonard Read's dream come true — a way to give away ideas, because digits are free? Yes.
FEE's presidents from 1995 to 2008 never really understood the power of the World Wide Web. Lew Rockwell did. So did Jeff Tucker. This is why LewRockwell.com and Mises.org have a large traffic, and FEE.org doesn't. Rockwell got there first and captured the libertarian market by giving away everything. You can buy printed copies of the books Mises.org gives away. Result: Mises Institute sells more libertarian books than any other organization.
You mean that giving away a download of a book sells the book? Yes. But why? Because most book lovers suffer from what I call Picard's syndrome. Like Jean-Luc, they want to hold a book in their laps. They don't like to read a book in a 3-ring binder. They can read a chapter on-line. Then they say, "Nuts to this. I'll click a link and buy it." Print-on-demand technology lets the Mises Institute list hundreds of books in its on-line catalogue (free). Inventory problems? Nothing to speak of.
Want to test drive any book it sells? Go to the Literature section of the site.
May 27, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Gary North