tapehead wrote:There are many books and stories free online, so I thought I'd make a thread where you can link them, or come looking for a little something to read. Two things today made me think it might be a good idea;
The Zone book, of the month for November,253, which started out and still exists complete and free online.
I also noticed on boingboing that the MIT Technology review have published a new short story by Bruce Sterling, the Interoperation - pretty interesting Science Fiction.
I'm sure there's heaps more, so come on in here and show me up and post them up, I want something to read for when I'm bored and cheap-ass! (other than the Zone, of course.
edit: and while this thread might likely sink without a trace, I might just add the known remnants of The Books of Bokonon, for those who have the faith.
Fried Gold wrote:You may already know of it - Project Gutenberg is a free digital collection of over 22,000 public domain books.
There are a lot of "classics" in there, but also 20th century works too.
buster00 wrote:Yeah, get in here and moderate awready, book boy.
Two competing visions of the future went head-to-head online yesterday as HarperCollins and Random House launched contrasting new experiments in book distribution on the same day.
Building on a scheme launched in 2006 which allows users to flick through extracts of the books they publish, HarperCollins is releasing complete texts from a small selection of authors for periods of a month to test how free access affects sales.
The chief executive of HarperCollins Worldwide, Jane Friedman, was keen to stress the flexibility of the publisher's systems.
"The advantage of our digital warehouse is that we can securely, quickly and easily change what content is available," she said, "whether it is to meet an author's request, to preview a title before it is on sale, or to promote backlist books. And we believe it's the role of the publisher to develop tools to easily allow authors to promote their work to their communities online."
With Neil Gaiman and Paolo Coelho lined up to be among the first clutch of six titles, it seems as if the publisher is only beginning to catch up with their authors' enthusiasm for free distribution. Coelho, who has promoted free copies of his own work online since 2000, has signed up for HarperCollins to provide an entire book for download every month for one year.
"I believe that online reading helps increase book sales," the author said. "I am very pleased that HarperCollins is able to make my titles available online for my fans to read."
Neil Gaiman, who offers readers free stories on his website and has been running a promotional blog for seven years, is convinced that tasters are "enormously useful". He's running an online vote for readers to determine which of his titles will be given away - a poll currently led by his mythical American fantasy, American Gods.
Whatever the result of the poll, the author is not expecting a straightforward match between the numbers of free downloads and added sales.
"It's much more about gaining an audience than about some one-to-one correlation," he said. "It's a question of how do you find new writers." People often come to new authors in a library, on a friend's bookshelves, or by a personal recommendation, he explained. It "doesn't always begin with a financial transaction. I very much doubt that I discovered a single one of my favourite authors by buying a book."
Meanwhile Random House is pursuing a different model, launching a pilot project to offer individual slices of books for a small fee. Six chapters and an epilogue of a business title by brothers Chip and Dan Heath are available at $2.99 (Â£1.50) each.
Users will receive a link for downloading the chapters of their choice via email, which the company claims is impossible to share electronically.
"This is a pilot project to gauge whether there is a demand or not," said Random House's Carol Schneider. "We're really doing it as a kind of an experiment."
It's an experiment that runs counter to internet users' expectations of getting something for nothing and to Random House's enthusiastic promotion of free clips from their library of audio books. With no plans to extend the scheme into other non-fiction or short fiction titles, and no download figures yet available it's impossible to judge whether Random House's cautious strategy will prove effective, but Gaiman is convinced that publishers who are bold will be rewarded.
"The problem is not people who read books for nothing," he said, "it's people not reading books at all. You're fighting the fact that people don't read recreationally [any more]. Anything that can help has got to be a good thing."
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest