Welcome to the site

So, the book launches today. Theoretically, cartons of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom are arriving in bookshops all over the world, even as you read this. I'm pretty psyched.

This site is a way to keep track of the goings-on with the book: stores that are carrying it, new reviews, and general news about the book. I am immensely grateful to Mena Trott and Ben Trott for putting this site together, using their wonderful Movable Type blogging tool.

Most importantly, perhaps, is that this site is a place where you can download the whole goddamned book, completely gratis, in a variety of open, standards-defined formats. These books are licensed under a Creative Commons license. This is a somewhat novel idea. Not a lot of writers have published a free electronic edition simultaneous with their dead-tree-edition novels, and so perhaps a word of explanation is in order.

"Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" is my first novel. It's an actual, no-foolin' words-on-paper book, published by the good people at Tor Books in New York City. You can buy this book in stores or online, by following links like this one.

I'm releasing the entire text of this book as a free, freely redistributable e-book. You can download it, put it on a P2P net, put it on your site, email it to a friend, and, if you're addicted to dead trees, you can even print it.

Why am I doing this thing? Well, it's a long story, but to shorten it up: first-time novelists have a tough row to hoe. Our publishers don't have a lot of promotional budget to throw at unknown factors like us. Mostly, we rise and fall based on word-of-mouth. I'm not bad at word-of-mouth. I have a blog, Boing Boing, where I do a lot of word-of-mouthing. I compulsively tell friends and strangers about things that I like.

And telling people about stuff I like is way, way easier if I can just send it to 'em. Way easier.

What's more, P2P nets kick all kinds of ass. Most of the books, music and movies ever released are not available for sale, anywhere in the world. In the brief time that P2P nets have flourished, the ad-hoc masses of the Internet have managed to put just about *everything* online. What's more, they've done it for cheaper than any other archiving/revival effort ever. I'm a stone infovore and this kinda Internet mishegas gives me a serious frisson of futurosity.

Yeah, there are legal problems. Yeah, it's hard to figure out how people are gonna make money doing it. Yeah, there is a lot of social upheaval and a serious threat to innovation, freedom, business, and whatnot. It's your basic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario, and as a science fiction writer, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenaria are my stock-in-trade.

I'm especially grateful to my publisher, Tor Books and my editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden for being hep enough to let me try out this experiment.

All that said, here's the deal: I'm releasing this book under a license developed by the Creative Commons project. This is a project that lets people like me roll our own license agreements for the distribution of our creative work under terms similar to those employed by the Free/Open Source Software movement. It's a great project, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Here's a summary of the license.

Here's the license itself.

I sure hope you like my book.

14 Responses to “Welcome to the site”

  1. Congratulations! I'll look forward to reading it.

  2. Anders says:

    I love that we can download your book for free (I just did)
    But I miss a donate button (maybe paypal), So I can support your writing.

  3. Bryant says:

    Woo hoo! Just linked to this from Popone; I'm looking forward to writing a full review.

    btw, when you're linking to local pages (i.e., the download page), you want to use the full pathname in the URL, cause otherwise the link doesn't work from archive pages.

  4. Anders, that's really generous of you. The best way you can support me, though, is by buying a copy of the book. Not only do I get the royalty, but there's the knock-on effects of boosting overall sales figures, which is how the advance on my *next* book will be determined.

  5. michael says:

    How great would it be to get Ben and Mena to support a redesign of boingboing? ;)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I downloaded the PDF in about 14 seconds, read the first paragraph and now I want to go out and BUY THIS BOOK. It's no fair, you've taken some ideas I was thinking of writing about and summarized them in about two sentences. :-D

    The PDF layout is.. interesting. Being the owner of a duplexed printer though, the boring old single-page format would be better. People can make it rotated-double-page format easily themselves using n-up printing. An alternative format that only a very marginal percentage of people would like (but which would include me) would be the same 2-page-landscape format, but with pages ordered such that printing it out duplexed could then be stapled in the middle.

    But.. that's not very important really since I'm just doing to buy the damned book. And you'd better come back to Toronto again soon so I can get your thumbprint on it (I don't get signatures — ask Tanya H sometime).

    Thanks for giving me something to read, but also a pox on you for making it sounds so damned good that I will end up staying up until 4am reading it all in one go, and thus not lasting long enough! Enroll in the Heinlein TimeEnoughForLove Massive-Novel school of writing, okay?

    Time to shut up. I've never written so much in a bloody comment before. Oh, and I'm going to post about your book in my blog. Can I use your pics in an img-src="" kinda way?


  7. denise says:

    wow. you've been talking about this book for a long time and even read from it last march, but it just hit me that this is a real thing i can hold in my hand.

    this must be so exciting for you!!

  8. Stephen says:

    Er, wow? I was reading about this book in Wired in December (while on holiday in the US). I even tried to seek it out in bookstores, that is until I realised it wasn't available until January... Cory, this is a great idea for those of us who can't afford the book in the post-Christmas pinch, and those of us who'd like to 'try before they buy'. Nevertheless I'm sure I'll like it, being a Disney trivia fan and a sci-fi freak. :)

    Best of luck in this experiment, and rest assured if I like the book, I will buy it...

  9. Jay says:

    Lets make a deal... You keep writing great books and I'll keep buying them! OK?

  10. Cory Doctorow says:

    Sure thing!

  11. Janet says:

    I would love to download your book, but the link on your site does not work.
    What URL should I use, please?

  12. What link are you having trouble with? There are about a dozen different formats downloadable at http://craphound.com/down

  13. Wow. No one has commented here in over a decade. Huh. I somehow stumbled onto Down and Out a few years ago, and the name stuck with me. Now that I've found it again, I think I'll download it! :)

  14. Cory Doctorow says:

    Thanks! Hope you enjoy it.

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