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There’s a dangerous group of anti-copyright activists out there who pose a clear and present danger to the future of authors and publishing. They have no respect for property or laws. What’s more, they’re powerful and organized, and have the ears of lawmakers and the press.

I’m speaking, of course, of the legal departments at ebook publishers.

These people don’t believe in copyright law. Copyright law says that when you buy a book, you own it. You can give it away, you can lend it, you can pass it on to your descendants or donate it to the local homeless shelter. Owning books has been around for longer than publishing books has. Copyright law has always recognized your right to own your books. When copyright laws are made — by elected officials, acting for the public good — they always safeguard this right.

But ebook publishers don’t respect copyright law, and they don’t believe in your right to own property. Instead, they say that when you “buy” an ebook, you’re really only licensing that book, and that copyright law is superseded by the thousands of farcical, abusive words in the license agreement you click through on the way to sealing the deal. (Of course, the button on their website says, “Buy this book” and they talk about “Ebook sales” at conferences — no one says, “License this book for your Kindle” or “Total licenses of ebooks are up from 0.00001% of all publishing to 0.0001% of all publishing, a 100-fold increase!”)

I say to hell with them. You bought it, you own it. I believe in copyright law’s guarantee of ownership in your books.

So you own this ebook. The license agreement (see below), is from Creative Commons and it gives you even more rights than you get to a regular book. Every word of it is a gift, not a confiscation. Enjoy.

What do I want from you in return? Read the book. Tell your friends. Review it on Amazon or at your local bookseller. Bring it to your bookclub. Assign it to your students (older students, please — that sex scene is a scorcher) (now I’ve got your attention, don’t I?). As Woody Guthrie wrote:

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

Oh yeah. Also: if you like it, buy it or donate a copy to a worthy, cash-strapped institution.

Why am I doing this? Because my problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity (thanks, @timoreilly for this awesome aphorism). Because free ebooks sell print books. Because I copied my ass off when I was 17 and grew up to spend practically every discretionary cent I have on books when I became an adult. Because I can’t stop you from sharing it (zeroes and ones aren’t ever going to get harder to copy); and because readers have shared the books they loved forever; so I might as well enlist you to the cause.

I have always dreamt of writing sf novels, since I was six years old. Now I do it. It is a goddamned dream come true, like growing up to be a cowboy or an astronaut, except that you don’t get oppressed by ranchers or stuck on the launchpad in an adult diaper for 28 hours at a stretch. The idea that I’d get dyspeptic over people — readers — celebrating what I write is goddamned bizarre

So, download this book.

Some rules of the road:

It’s kind of a tradition around here that my readers convert my ebooks to their favorite formats and send them to me here, and it’s one that I love! If you’ve converted these files to another format, send them to me and I’ll host them, but before you do, make sure you read the following:

  • Only one conversion per format, first come, first serve. That means that if someone’s already converted the file to a Femellhebber 3000 document, that’s the one you’re going to find here. I just don’t know enough about esoteric readers to adjudicate disputes about what the ideal format is for your favorite device.
  • Make sure include a link to the reader as well. When you send me an ebook file, make sure that you include a link to the website for the reader technology as well so that I can include it below.
  • No cover art. The text of this book is freely copyable, the cover, not so much. The rights to it are controlled by my publisher, so don’t include it with your file.
  • No DRM. The Creative Commons license prohibits sharing the file with “DRM” (sometimes called “copy-protection”) on it, and that’s fine by me. Don’t send me the book with DRM on it. If you’re converting to a format that has a DRM option, make sure it’s switched off.

Fan conversions:

83 Responses to “Download Makers For Free”

  1. Kantuck Nadie Nata-Akon

    But ebook publishers don’t respect copyright law, and they don’t believe in your right to own property. Instead, they say that when you “buy” an ebook, you’re really only licensing that book, and that copyright law is superseded by the thousands of farcical, abusive words in the license agreement you click through on the way to sealing the deal

    I agree! I never ‘licenses’ software, DVDs, CDs, or ebooks. I have yet to care if manufacturers do not like this. I regularly copy, rip, backup my digital works. I have 4, 1 and 2 TB external HDs as backups for all of the above. Yes I /do copy the disks, and your copyright means nothing to me./ Reason is; I /OWN THE PRODUCT/ I do not rent. Renting is like a subscription. I have to give a periodical amount of money to something for it’s use. If buy it once, I do not rent. If I subscribe to it, that’s another matter.

  2. Dave at eSensible

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I beg to differ.

    When you buy a book you can read it, give it to a mate, sell it on ebay, give it to the library, whatever you want. That’s fine.

    When you buy an ebook your options are slightly limited. You can lend your mate your kindle, but I doubt you’d give your kindle to the library for example.

    The issue is more about distribution, and “copy”right. Giving a book to your mate isn’t copying it, you’re passing on the object that you own. However, if you email your ebook to your mate then you’re duplicating it. It’s a different thing entirely. Is it not?

  3. Megha

    Reply to Dave at Ensemble:
    (apologies if there’s an easier way to reply, I can’t find it) Ah, no I don’t think it is a different thing, not really. If I’ve a paper copy, I can duplicate it – by writing it out, which is often more trouble then it’s worth, by (if I have the required technology) reprinting it, by getting a recording of someone reading it (ie, do-it-yourself audiobook), by photographing each page. By remembering it, and suddenly there’s a copy in my head. Rewriting, often by hand, is how books were duplicated and passed on, when they were rare or the original wasn’t available (for whatever reason), through much of history… many valuable historical books are available because of this method. And the reverse is also true, if I wanted I could also destroy the print book – by cutting it up, using the scraps for art etc, as it is mine to use. It’s just about putting in the effort, and the effort I’m willing to put in – is my own choice. I don’t actually think there is an objection to someone putting in the effort to write a book out longhand to get a copy – the effort matters, and even then it isn’t much different from really good note-taking, or telling someone the story (good storytelling, mind). And if someone really distributes a book by personal copying – not a-few-for-personal-use stuff, but reprints piles of them, makes tons of copies, sends worldwide… this would be kinda a jerk move if the author, etc didn’t approve (if possible, I mean), but still I don’t see why it should be illegal if they aren’t profiting.

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