Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about this book:
How can I tip you for the free download? I wanna pay for what I got!
Hey, that's real nice of you, but honestly, I'm not interested. If you liked the book, that's good to know (you can email me to tell me so, if you'd like, but please don't be offended if I don't get a chance to answer; I love to read the messages even if I don't have time to respond to all of them). If your sense of duty demands that you compensate me, well, you can always buy a copy, which gets me my royalty and gets my publisher some sales-figures that show that this kind of thing is a good idea. If you don't care to own the dead-tree edition, you can always donate it to a shelter or a school or a public library. The bottom line for me is, on the one hand, I don't want to compete with my publisher and on the other, I don't feel very dignified begging for quarters and nickels from my audience.
I wanna download the book in $SOME_OTHER_FORMAT
Here's the deal: I don't believe that there's any market-demand for teasers or for "Digital Rights Management" technology: none of you woke up this morning and said, "Damn, I wish there was a way I could get less of the books I enjoy and a way I could do less with them once I have them." My goal here is to figure out what people actually want out of electronically delivered text, and so I'm giving this novel to you in three open and flexible formats with an invitation:
Convert these files to any "e-book" or text format you want, and send them to me, along with a note telling me what reader it's intended for and I will add it to the download page. The only caveats are:
- You have to include the entire text of the novel, including (especially!) the Creative Commons license and metadata
- If you are converting to a format that has some kind of use-restriction options (i.e., no-print, no-copy, etc), these must be switched off
- You can't include the cover art. That belongs to my publisher, not me
- No duplicates: if there's already a file available for the reader you use, don't send me another one with your favorite tweaks in it -- I'm not going to mediate catfights about how big the indents should be in Newton eBook Reader files or whatnot and besides, civilians who want to download a copy of the book shouldn't have to puzzle out whether they want the version with the curly-quotes or the foot-and-inch-marks
- Was Down and Out a success? Is that why you're doing this?
Well, sure it was! I mean, I can't quantify how much of a success it was, because I don't have another first novel that I didn't release as a free download, but to the extent that the first book got downloaded a lot and drew a lot of attention and sold really well in hardcover and continues to sell well in paperback, I'm calling it a success.
As to why I'm doing this again, well, it comes down to risking very little for a very big upside: namely, that you-all will continue to invest in my career by buying and reading and talking up the stuff that I do, that you will pass on these downloads to your friends and family, that you will keep on telling me about how you use these files so that I can understand better what the shape of electronic books to come will be.
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