Markets in everything, literary edition

by on May 18, 2006 at 6:25 am in Books | Permalink

Write the next page:

A first-time author has bypassed the traditional route of getting an agent, and is publishing a collaborative thriller on eBay. The novel is being written one page at a time, one writer to a page. As each installment is finished, the chance to create the next is offered for auction on eBay. So far, 17 pages have been completed, with 234 to go, and while the quality of the writing might charitably be described as variable, there is no shortage of plot.

By the way: "Money generated from page auctions goes to Macmillan Cancer Support."

1 James Grimmelmann May 18, 2006 at 8:17 am

Game theory would suggest that the “author” ought to bundle the right to write multiple pages, perhaps 10 or 20, widely dispersed throughout the book. As it stands, each contributor is engaged in a one-shot interaction with the others, which reduces incentives to write the kind of coherent and well-flowing page that the writers of later pages will be grateful for. It would be difficult to allow earlier contributors to capture some of the excess value they create for later contributors, but forcing them into extended interactions would at least encourage some cooperation.

2 levan September 8, 2006 at 4:41 am
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