January 9, 2003  ·  Lessig

Cory Doctorow’s brilliant novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, is out today. Buy it early and often. Cory’s book is also the very first to be offered initially both for sale and under a CreativeCommons license. That means you can also download it for free. As Cory describes it,

“The entire text of my novel is available as a free download in a variety of standards-defined formats. No crappy DRM, no teasers, just the whole damned book.”

But as he (and I) expect, once you start the book, you’ll see you want it in its bound form. So again, you might as well buy it too.

Cory has been defending the rights of creators at EFF for sometime now. With this experiment, he is putting his money where his heart is. I’ve had enormous respect for him for a very long time, but I’m quickly discovering new heights of respect.

Congratulations, Cory, on a great novel, made available to the world freely � and with great CC metadata to boot!

Check out the CC Weblog later today for an interview with Cory about the novel, and his ideas about licensing.

  • http://mypencil.org Glen Campbell

    I do appreciate the licensing; however, I’m not certain that your idea (“once you start the book, you’ll see you want it in its bound form”) is entirely correct. In the last year, I have almost totally ceased purchasing bound books, instead relying upon the ebooks (all legimately purchased, I might add) that I can read on my Palm handheld. I now carry between 10-20 unread or partially-read books in my pocket; I can read on the train, in the queue, before the movie starts, or in other locations. I would be perfectly willing to pay for the downloadable version, but there’s little chance that I will purchase the “bound form” even if I like it. Now, I’m certainly an “early adopter” of such technology, but I believe it will expand in the future. I also pay to download music (via listen.com’s Rhapsody) and to listen online (which makes me a moral archaic, I suppose). P.S. Sorry to hear about Sonny Bono.

  • http://www.BillKatz.com Bill Katz

    I think it’s great that Doctorow has released his work under such pro-reader licensing. And he’ll probably do quite well from the added publicity, much like MJ Rose did well after the publicity regarding her self-publishing success. But is this a viable system for those that follow? E-paper will eventually allow bound-form experience for e-books; we’re talking three to five years before e-paper products hit the shelves. When that happens, how do authors make reasonable money through electronic distribution?

  • Anonymous

    The book is not very long (just the right length, I liked it a lot) and I had no trouble reading it on an lcd screen of a laptop. So I am not sure ‘I’ll want to see it in its bound form’. I wound not have read it on a crt display though, and I did find my big a clunky laptop a bit inconvenient, since I read most dead trees books lying on a bed/sofa. The licensing is great for readers, but I, too, wonder if it is too good to last.