Shifting from ink on paper to digital text suddenly allows us to make perfect copies of our work. Shifting from isolated computers to a globe-spanning network of connected computers suddenly allows us to share perfect copies of our work with a worldwide audience at essentially no cost. About thirty years ago this kind of free global sharing became something new under the sun. Before that, it would have sounded like a quixotic dream. Digital technologies have created more than one revolution. Let’s call this one the access revolution. Why don’t more authors take advantage of the access revolution to reach more readers? The answer is pretty clear. Authors who share their works in this way aren’t selling them, and even authors with purposes higher than money depend on sales to make a living. Or at least they appreciate sales.
Suber, Peter. Open Access. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.