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January 29, 2003

Not There Yet

Cory Doctorow wrote Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and got his publisher to agree to let him offer it simultaneously as a free e-book. I mentioned that I wanted to pay him back somehow, but buying the hardcopy just seemed a waste of paper after reading it electronically (still in progress). So can I send money anwhere? From his cite:

"Q: Can't I just send some money to you by PalPal instead of buying the book?

A: You don't have to buy the book, but I'm not interested in tipjar payments. I'm not doing this to compete with my publisher. If you read the ebook and want to pay me back, but don't have any use for the dead-tree edition, the best way you can do that is to buy a copy of the book and donate it to a school, library or community center. If you do this, you'll put a copy of the book on the shelf where it might be read, I'll get a royalty, and my sales-figures will go up (which means that I'll get a bigger advance on my next book and my publisher will be more likely to want to repeat the experiment)."


"...the cost of bookeeping an entirely new type of transaction (which would also include the cost of my agent and my publisher's lawyers negotiating how to handle this kind of transaction) would far exceed that kind of sum -- IOW, they'd save money if they tore up your check."

So I'd agree with him that what he's doing is an "experiment" in that the details of a system that would encourage an author to publish online for free aren't ironed out yet. I'll ask at the library if they take donations other than for library sales, but if not, I'll just send Cory a polite note explaining why I wish he'd try to expand the experiment in this way. We'll see.

Posted by dpwakefield at January 29, 2003 09:02 PM