Ralph Amissah converted a couple of my books to his really exciting format SiSu. SiSu uses simple human-reabable markup and auto-creates several ebook formats, including PDFs, HTML, Docx, Epub, and plain old .txt (my fave!). I’ve really been looking for an easy way to “single-source” my books from manuscript to finished files, and this looks like a good candidate. Check out the conversions:
The SiSu converter is free/open and runs well on my Ubuntu Linux machine.
The Italian publisher Apogeo commissioned a professional Italian translation of my Creative Commons-licensed essay collection Content and released their edition as a free, noncommercial download!
Selezione di saggi sulla tecnologia, la creatività, il copyright
In Canada, the US and the UK, kids will be going back to school in a short while, so now’s a good time to remind you of the donation program for my books. Here’s how it works: teachers, librarians (and others, like people who work in family shelters, halfway houses, prisons, etc) indicate that they’d like copies of my books for their classes or collections. Then, people like you order copies and have them sent straight to the teachers. I pay someone who checks out each donation solicitation to make sure that it’s legit.
I do this in lieu of cash donations, because this has so many beneficial side effects: it registers as a sale, which means my publisher is happy; it supports booksellers (you can donate a copy from any bookseller that has a mail-order business), who are firmly on the side of the angels; it gets me a royalty and keeps my rapidly growing toddler in shoes and sailor suits; and, of course, it gets books into the hands of teachers, librarians, care-givers, case workers, and the kids, clients, and patrons they serve. It’s a win all the way around (and yes, I’m thinking of ways to automate and expand this program to include other authors, possibly through a charity that can issue tax-receipts to donors, which would be just so kick-ass).
We’ve given hundreds of books to schools, libraries and other worthy institutions this way. For years, readers have asked me if they can donate cash to me because they’ve downloaded my books and don’t need the physical objects. I’m really happy with this solution, even though to date it has made a small loss (it’s not cheap to pay someone a fair wage to hand-write all the web-pages, and vet all the solicitation).
Donate Little Brother
Jan Rubak, a Canadian mathematician/physicist, has been reading aloud all the essays from my collection Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future and uploading them to the Internet Archive, and this week, he finished! He’s even included some bonus material from John Perry Barlow. These are great readings and this was a gigantic undertaking — thanks, Jan!
I’ve included a bonus chapter at the end with Barlow’s “Economy of Ideas” plus a somewhat impassioned reading of “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” to round out the whole experience.
Sometime in the next month or two, I’ll also upload some afterthoughts of my own as a final entry (but first I’m going to listen to the whole thing through from start to finish).
“Content” by Cory Doctorow
Mathematician/physicist Jan Rubak has done me the honour of recording readings of six of the essays from my nonfiction collection, Content and uploading them to the Internet Archive. He’s a great reader, too!
– In Praise of Fanfic
– Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia
– Amish for QWERTY
– Free(konomic) Ebooks
– The Progressive Apocalypse and Other Futurismic Delights
– When the Singularity is More Than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil
All 28 essays are available as free downloads (and there have been a ton of conversions to everything from Braille to OpenDoc) and, of course, there’s a beautiful physical object for sale, too.
This week, The Command Line podcast favored me with a stellar review from my new essay collection Content, along with readings of two of the essays: Amish for QWERTY and Science Fiction is the Only Literature People Care Enough About to Steal on the Internet.
John D. Berry, a legendary type designer, is responsible for the superb design of Content. I’ve often said that people value the physical book for its physicality (which is partly why giving away downloads leads to sale of the print editions), but rarely has one of my books been so gorgeously physical. The downloadable PDF of the entire book will give you a sense of just how hand-turned, artisinal and deliciously smart the interiors of this book are — if you’re as excited by great type as I am, check out the buy page to get your own copy. And lest I forget, the superb cover came from designer Ann Monn!
I can’t begin to express how exciting it was hear that John Perry Barlow would write the introduction to this collection. This is, after all, the man who wrote The Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, a document that has haunted and moved me since I first read it in 1996. Barlow is one of the most profound, generous, and genuinely kind and thoughtful people I’ve ever met. He is uncompromising, principled, funny and as down to earth as anyone you’ve ever met. If you only read one essay in this collection, read John Perry’s intro.
Every time I put a book online for free, I get emails from readers who want to send me donations for the book. I appreciate their generous spirit, but I’m not interested in cash donations, because my publishers are really important to me. They contribute immeasurably to the book, improving it, introducing it to audience I could never reach, helping me do more with my work. I have no desire to cut them out of the loop.
But there has to be some good way to turn that generosity to good use, and I think I’ve found it.
Here’s the deal: there are lots of teachers and librarians who’d love to get hard-copies of this book into their kids’ hands, but don’t have the budget for it (teachers in the US spend around $1,200 out of pocket each on classroom supplies that their budgets won’t stretch to cover, which is why I sponsor a classroom at Ivanhoe Elementary in my old neighborhood in Los Angeles; you can adopt a class yourself here).
There are generous people who want to send some cash my way to thank me for the free ebooks.
I’m proposing that we put them together.
If you’re a teacher or librarian and you want a free copy of Content, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the name and address of your school. It’ll be posted below by my fantastic helper, Olga Nunes, so that potential donors can see it.
If you enjoyed the electronic edition of Content and you want to donate something to say thanks, check below to find a teacher or librarian you want to support. Then go to Amazon, BN.com, or your favorite electronic bookseller and order a copy to the classroom, then email a copy of the receipt (feel free to delete your address and other personal info first!) to email@example.com so that Olga can mark that copy as sent. If you don’t want to be publicly acknowledged for your generosity, let us know and we’ll keep you anonymous, otherwise we’ll thank you on the donate page.
Check the donate page for people looking for copies.