Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Why Cory Doctorow Gives His Books Away

“And so when Cory Doctorow makes free digital copies of his books available for download, he does so not out of any charitable instinct but because he thinks that that's his best marketing strategy. And I agree.”

This comes in the midst of a rather long post by Michael Allen all about how publishers are trying to kill the golden goose of digitized content before it even gets started by overzealous control of their copyrights. There's a recommendation of a book on the subject that-of course-you can download for free and Lawrence Lessig's name is invoked. That's when my eyes start to glaze over.

Re: Cory Doctorow and others who make their books available for free downloads. They do it because it increases name recognition without impacting the sales of the books they don't give away. Few if any readers would pay for an e-book by Doctorow or anyone else because e-books have so far been a big, fat, flop.

I have downloaded a number of free books and have noticed an interesting phenomenon that I don't believe is unique to myself. I am more excited by the idea of getting an entire book instantly than by the book's contents. Once I open that PDF file, I read a few pages and lose interest.

Doctorow makes his money from his paper books that are published by TOR. If there was any money in e-books versions of his work, he wouldn't be giving them away, you can bet on that. You only give away what you are convinced you can't sell.


Blogger vampran said...

Very nice site!
Very good insight into the whole e-book download. I really find that e-books are very hard to read. I think this has more to do with my comfort level and my total detestation of reading long pieces on the computer. I would much rather carry a book to bed than sit in front of a screen.
I also hear that soon the cell phone guys are going to be making the classic novels of yesterday available via text message. Of course these classic will be altered and modified so that they can be easily sent out and they should be a hit with today's cliff note generation.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Dear Vampran:

Thanks for your kind compliments.

If anyone wants to read a novel on their cell phone, I'll eat a hat without the benefit of condiments.

It's a question I didn't pursue in my comments on GOB's blog whether my reaction to the books I've downloaded is due to the e-book format or whether the books just don't happen to be very good. I myself am not quite sure what the answer is.

10:37 PM  

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