Monday, February 06, 2006

Some Things Are Just !@#$%ed Up

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow (SF author and blogger of boing-boing fame) is available on in a variety of formats. That makes sense: if you want a dead-tree edition, Amazon will sell you one, in hard or soft covers.

But they also will sell you a copy for Microsoft Reader for $9.95.

Why is that !@#$%ed up?

Because Cory Doctorow has made the entire novel available for free on his web site. In a rather bewildering variety of formats. (Now, I have no idea if the Microsoft Reader format is among them... but if you can get to Amazon, you can read html, which is on Doctorow's site.)

So the question is... why would anyone buy the digital file from Amazon? A paper copy, sure -- there's reason to have a paper copy even if you can get a digital one free. But a digital one? Have they sold any? Who bought them?

(It is cool that Doctorow made the whole novel free; he's said that he thinks it increases his sales. In fact, all his novels and many of his short stories are available on his web site; check 'em out!)

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