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Star Wars Books Released As Ebooks

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the some-of-them-are-truly-awful dept.

Books 70

An anonymous reader writes "Tomorrow all of the Star Wars books that have not previously been released as ebooks are being released. This includes the Zahn books that started the Star Wars book explosion, as well as older books such as Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which was written prior to certain revelations in The Empire Strikes Back."

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70 comments

Being SOLD you mean (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595522)

They're being SOLD as ebooks - so you can buy them, AGAIN. What would be truly interesting news is if they GAVE AWAY the ebooks.

Apparantly this has been sitting in the Q (0)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595562)

Because it is in fact TODAY that the release happened. At around midnight in the US Amazon released the books to Kindles, and I'd presume other ebook services were similar.

Note to editors: Edit you lazy bastards. Either get on actually approving things in the Q so they go out when they make sense or take the time to update the language to match the release. That is, after all, the job of an editor. The job is not "Sit around and click "approve sometimes".

Re:Apparantly this has been sitting in the Q (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36596152)

It's a queue, not a Star Trek character. Jeez.

Re:Apparantly this has been sitting in the Q (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36596500)

Says the guy who is too lazy to type out queue.

And.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595564)

Will be cracked and on Pirate bay 32 seconds later....

Here is a question.. What is the difference between me scanning a book I own and turning it into an ebook or instead, downloading a pirate copy of an ebook that I own in paper form?

I think it's legal, But, I am sure the companies lawyers think I am bin-laden level of evil...

Re:And.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36595612)

As far as I'm aware, both are breaches of copyright. Check the copyright notice in the book, though.

Re:And.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36595720)

As far as I'm aware, both are breaches of copyright. Check the copyright notice in the book, though.

You are allowed to format-shift content you own. You simply can't distribute the copy.

Re:And.... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595938)

You are allowed to format-shift content you own. You simply can't distribute the copy.

...and you must transfer or destroy all copies if you transfer the original.

The presentation of the work is copyrighted, so you cannot legally download the eBook version of a book you own, but you CAN scan it in. It seems like downloading a copy of the edition you own (or possibly a later edition if it can be shown that there were no edits) is a legal gray area but not being a lawyer, let alone in IP law, I don't know if there is any applicable case law.

Re:And.... (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596704)

You may be. I'm not actually convinced that I am (I live in Europe and we've got slightly different laws. I'm not even sure that we're legally allowed to copy LPs to cassette yet though the record companies stated long ago that they wouldn't prosecute anyone doing so, which was very generous of them.)

I've taken the view that a publisher will most likely take the view of a record company and not prosecute me for downloading an eBook I already bought in hard copy, but if that were tested in court I'm not at all confident that I'd win.

Re:And.... (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595910)

You can scan or copy any book you won as long as you don't distribute the scans or copies AND you retain possession of the original book. If you scan the book and then turn around and sell it you no longer have rights to the book and have to delete/destroy the scan or copies.

Re:And.... (1)

Carik (205890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595956)

Legally speaking, scanning it yourself is probably allowed as long as you don't share it. Downloading a pirate copy is illegal.

Ethically, I personally don't see a difference between the two, since the end result is the same. Neither one costs the author anything, and neither one gains anyone else anything. That said, if there IS a for-purchase ebook version, I'll buy that over scanning my own: I want the authors I like to keep writing, and the only way for that to happen is if they keep making money on it.

Re:And.... (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596278)

Depending on the book, the author may not be making any money; Mike Stackpole [stormwolf.com] was paid a flat fee in lieu of royalties on some of his titles, for example.

Re:And.... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596398)

Depending on the book, the author may not be making any money; Mike Stackpole [stormwolf.com] was paid a flat fee in lieu of royalties on some of his titles, for example.

In the ultra-short-term, yes. In the long term, if the publisher doesn't earn the flat fee thru sales, the future opportunity goes away both for that individual and all authors as a group.

In all honesty, I think book publishing should be flat fee for all, after all, I don't get royalties every time someone clicks a "href" or shoves a packet thru my routers. There is no economic risk of "warehouses full of unsold (e)books"

Re:And.... (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 2 years ago | (#36597422)

In the ultra-short-term, yes. In the long term, if the publisher doesn't earn the flat fee thru sales, the future opportunity goes away both for that individual and all authors as a group.

For new titles, sure. But the specific titles in question are a decade old; I can't help but think that it's too long term for the publisher to care about whether or not the book earned out (that would've happened in the first couple of years, I'd think—the same period that was paid for upfront).

In all honesty, I think book publishing should be flat fee for all, after all, I don't get royalties every time someone clicks a "href" or shoves a packet thru my routers. There is no economic risk of "warehouses full of unsold (e)books"

That's a terrible analogy, unless by "your routers" you mean ones that you built and sold yourself. You're right that there's no economic risk, which is an argument for cutting down on the royalty portion for the publisher. But why should the author only get a flat fee? That would mean that whether a book sold 1 copy or 10 million, the publisher would get all the money and the author would get nothing. What incentive is there for the author to turn in something that isn't a complete turd, if they get paid no matter what?

Re:And.... (1)

jitterman (987991) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596284)

I have no ethical issues with downloading if I already bought a physical copy. I buy R.R. Martin / S. Donaldson books in hardcover, and then I grab electronic copies from questionable sources. I paid for the text. I'm not giving the physical book to someone else after downloading it. I have no problems in paying the author, editor, publisher, and distributor for the work then putting it in a format that's more convenient for me to use. But I'm not going to scan in 1100 pages just because it's legal to do so, when downloading takes seconds and (as long as I'm not posting it back - newsgroups, not torrents here) has the same outcome. I don't support people downloading who have not paid for the work in *any* form, but again, if paid up, have no qualms otherwise. I won't pay twice for the same source material.

For some books, I do purchase the electronic version, because I don't care about owning a physical copy. But there are some works I do want to have in material form; there are times though when having to lug around a doorstop isn't feasible.

Re:And.... (2)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 2 years ago | (#36603556)

I have no ethical issues with downloading if I already bought a physical copy.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. I'm currently getting a novel I wrote ready to go on sale, so I've really given a lot of thought to this from the position of an author (no, I'm not famous, and almost certainly won't get rich from this, but I've thought it through anyway). Personally, what I'd love to do is somehow link the book sale so that if someone purchases a physical copy, they get some kind of coupon or code that entitles them to a free Kindle/Nook/iBook/whatever copy. Right now I have no way to do that, but it strikes me as fair to all parties involved; the author gets his royalty for the book, and the ebook in this case is essentially free since it's already available for purchase anyway (no additional manufacturing/shipping fees involved). Since I have no way to actually do this [yet], I suppose I'd have to take the official stance of "please don't do that" as far as downloading a cracked copy, but personally if you've already bought a physical copy having a "free" ebook version wouldn't bother me in the least.

Re:And.... (2)

jitterman (987991) | more than 2 years ago | (#36604304)

It's nice to get honest insight from someone with a personal stake in things. I wonder if a book could offer a digital copy in the way that the "Blu-Ray combo packs" have begun to do with films. I hope you at the very least get a sense of personal accomplishment, if not wealth beyond imagining. Congrats on getting published, certainly. Feel free to shamelessly plug your book, by the way! If it sounds like something I'd enjoy, I'll buy a copy.

Re:And.... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#36598352)

Most publishers are using a copyright statement that prohibits scanning or any other conversion and storage in an "electronic data system". With this copyright statement I do not believe it would be permissible to scan the book or do anything else that results in the text in any digital form.

These copyright statements became pretty popular in the 1970s, so don't blame e-readers.

Re:And.... (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 2 years ago | (#36605730)

Most publishers are using a copyright statement that prohibits scanning or any other conversion and storage in an "electronic data system". With this copyright statement I do not believe it would be permissible to scan the book or do anything else that results in the text in any digital form.

I believe you mean "statement of claims the publisher happened to place alongside the actual copyright notice"; if the publisher wants to enforce them their lawyer can show up with the contract we signed - oh wait, we didn't, I purchased the book in a retail store.

These copyright statements became pretty popular in the 1970s, so don't blame e-readers.

Do however blame 1970s publishers, who foreseeing the inevitable production of e-readers promptly began shoving their legal thumb into the analog dike (for all the good it would do them: none).

Re:And.... (1)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596860)

"I think it's legal, But, I am sure the companies lawyers think I am bin-laden level of evil..."
Don't be stupid.......
I'm sure the companies lawyers find you to be far more evil than Bin Laden. After all Bin Laden may have killed people BUT YOU ARE SCREWING WITH THEIR PROFITS...IP is far more important to the companies lawyers than silly little things like human lives.

Re:And.... (2)

DarkAce911 (245282) | more than 2 years ago | (#36597060)

they have been out on torrent sites for years. There is a ton of stuff out there that has already been scanned in. There is a 24 GB torrent of just e-books.

Re:And.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36612848)

USENET ! you can DL individually if you want to - I pulled Lucas' original 'Star Wars' (long since out of print) years and YEARS ago and it was a heck of a lot better than the movie (ain't it always the case?). The second and third were written post-movie.

Re:And.... (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#36598048)

Here is a question.. What is the difference between me scanning a book I own and turning it into an ebook or instead, downloading a pirate copy of an ebook that I own in paper form?

The one you make from a scan is likely to be full of typos and crappy formatting, unless you spend quite a while cleaning it up. Noticed the unintelligible text you see in Google's Recaptchas? Half of those are from actual scans of books that they couldn't work out automatically.

Unfortunately, a lot of pirate e-books are made like that.... Hopefully more will be digital conversions rather than OCR as time goes by.

Though you probably weren't asking about the quality but the morality. The latter is a personal issue.

minimum price -1.00? (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595628)

can anyone explain the last table of TFA? I could understand zero as a marketing event but a negative price seems rather unusual...

Re:minimum price -1.00? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36595732)

The book is so bad, they are willing to pay you if you agree to read it

Re:minimum price -1.00? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596150)

Parsing mistakes. If you find one of the -1.00 books and go to Amazon for it, it has a positive price. (The one I looked for had $2.99.)

Re:minimum price -1.00? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#36597580)

Personally I find the $7.99 price, on a $6.99(US)($9.99cdn) paperback to be rather expensive. I already own most of these, simply because I like books and buy stuff I might eventually read. But I think I'll just wait for them to be cracked, and download them out of fucking spite for charging so much.

Fully Remastered with Dolby THX (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595948)

At last we'll have these in the EBook format that George Lucas always intended

Star Wars X-Wing (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 2 years ago | (#36595964)

Yay, I can digitize my Star Wars X-Wing collection... in a couple years when the prices are actually lower then when I first bought the books... um.

Alan Dean Foster (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36595970)

What a guy! He wrote the first book based on a computer game (Shadowkeep), lots of movie 'novelizations' (including Star Trek in 2009), but also a lot of original work. I really loved the Spellsinger series, though I think the Commonwealth books are best known. He seems to have a really relaxed relationship with his work, but at the same time the joy of writing really shines through in his books. In this he reminds me of Neal Stephenson.

I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596168)

I actually own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye that I got for free. Even for Star Wars books it is campy, but that may have been it doesn't fit with the movies. I mostly keep it because I like odd, old, or significant books and this was definitely one of the odder ones I have come across. It is actually in pretty good shape. If you haven't read Splinter of the Mind's Eye it might be worth reading but if you can get a free copy I would suggest it because it doesn't really fit with the rest of the Star Wars universe (even worse than Episodes 1-3).

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (5, Interesting)

zegota (1105649) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596266)

It doesn't fit with the movies mainly because it was written before most of them. It was intended to be the sequel to Star Wars in the event that the original movie didn't do well enough to warrant a film sequel. Thus, there are some plot points that seem hilarious to us now, mainly that Luke and Leia have quite a few romantic thoughts about each other. The fact that Lucas allowed this should be pretty good proof that Luke and Leia were not siblings from the beginning.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596462)

Thus, there are some plot points that seem hilarious to us now, mainly that Luke and Leia have quite a few romantic thoughts about each other. The fact that Lucas allowed this should be pretty good proof that Luke and Leia were not siblings from the beginning.

Well, Tatooine did kind of look like the desert outside Vegas, and what happens in Tatooine stays in Tatooine...

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

celle (906675) | more than 2 years ago | (#36598874)

And the ewoks homeworld looks like the forests of Tennessee.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596568)

I read that book so long ago. I don't remember much, but one thing I really appreciated at the time was that after being tied up all day Halla really needed to use the bathroom. Never before (and maybe never since) had I read a book where a character had this basic human need.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36597598)

I read it in 1984, and all I could remember was that miner having his eye burst by the Imperial officer, or governor.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#36598470)

I remember that, too. The weapon of choice sounded exactly like a fluorescent light tube, and I half expected the tube to implode and spray shards of glass and white powder everywhere. (I had some experience with breaking fluorescent light tubes).

I also remember the talking weasel dog things, but I don't remember if they had faux Jamaican accents.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596716)

It makes perfect sense when you realize that Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were also brother and sister, and that Tatooine is a VERY lonely place.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36603262)

Thus all the protocol droids. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36603236)

It should be obvious to most that Lucas did not have any grand plan for Star Wars. Like most people he just makes it up as he goes along, and also like most people he lies about it. He takes it further than most though and is a pioneer in revisioning.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (2)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596272)

Yeah!

Glad to see someone else likes (tolerates?) this book. I remember reading it a looong time ago (~1980) and although it introduces a lot of stuff that wasn't present in the original movies, it seemed to hang together pretty well.

I'm sure some kind of "leap of faith" is required for any of these books.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

Noexit (107629) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596402)

I read and loved the crap out of all three of the Han Solo books when I was a kid. It's been probably, oh, 100 years or so since I last picked one up so I have no idea how I'd like them now, but I sure remember having a lot of fun with them then.

Re:I own a copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1)

a_mari_usque_ad_mare (1996182) | more than 2 years ago | (#36598240)

I too enjoyed Brian Daley's Han Solo books (Han Solo at Star's End, Han Solo's Revenege, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy) back in the day. They were some of the first Star Wars books and predate Return of the Jedi.

I re-read, after 10 years or more, through the Han Solo books on a motorcycle trip through Vermont and New York (need something to do in the motel). I thought they held up very well, actually. The stories are not deep, but the books are very easy to get into, what I would call a 'page-turner' or an 'airplane book'. Han Solo was well-written as a likeable character and there were some decent side characters. Han and Chewie were always down on their luck and trying out weird deals; one of the books opens with them operating a movie theatre of a sorts for a primitive tribe, using the entertainment equipment for his ship, selling basic snacks and so on. One weird aspect was apart from Han, Chewie, and the Falcon, no other star wars locations or people were mentioned. There's this empire stand-in called the Authority (which hails from the 'Corporate Sector'), a suave gunfighter named Gallandro, and an ancient civilization ruled by Xim the Despot.

It would have made a good mini-series or TV show, much better than what has been done since the new star wars movies. Also, there was a Lando Calrissian series that was done in a similar style but much much worse. Anyone actually finish those ones? Even when I re-read my star wars books over and over, my Lando collection never got fully read.

Some good ones, kinda hard to get into new titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36596184)

There are a few Star Wars books I really like:

The first three Zahn books (Heir to the Empire more or less got me started reading "adult" science fiction.) Zahn's ability to create atmosphere and well crafted plots/characters never fails to delight. The next two aren't bad and I enjoyed reading them, but it was hard for them to have the same punch. After that I have less interest because prequels generally don't interest me.

The Han Solo books - Star's End, Revenge, and Lost Legacy. I love these for the atmosphere they create and the energy - they really capture what is fun about Star Wars. I read Zahn for the punch and Daley for the fun of Star Wars.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye, despite it "not quite fitting", is a good book and I find myself able to overlook it's oddball status to enjoy the story. Again it does a good job of putting you into an exotic Star Wars world.

For whatever reason, with the exception of Zahn I haven't been able to get into the modern Star Wars books - it's almost like there was some sort of cultural vibe that the contemporary authors picked up and most modern ones just lack. In some sense the juice has been "squeezed out" of the Star Wars universe from my standpoint - it was a product of its times and works best when written by people with that ever so subtle but tellingly felt frame of reference.

Re:Some good ones, kinda hard to get into new titl (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596768)

The Han Solo books were the only ones I liked (maybe it was because I was a kid when I read them). Every one that I've tried to read since just seemed silly and juvenile to me. One had snakes that could block the Force. That all had carbon-copy bad guys with those stupid, over-the-top Lucas-esque names like "Darth Evilus," "Darth Nastious," and shit like that. The movies were hokey enough without dumbing them down even more.

I would actually buy them... (1)

jamesgor13579 (818611) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596326)

I would actually buy them but they are DRM encumbered. I like the Zahn books, but borrowed them from the library when I read them. It just isn't worth paying for something that I can't use in a convenient way and can be taken away from me at the whims of some execs and lawyers.

Re:I would actually buy them... (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 2 years ago | (#36602720)

It literally only takes a few seconds to strip the drm from kindle books at this point.

Somewhat O.T.: favorites? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596904)

I've read about 10 or 15 Star Wars books and enjoyed them to varying degrees.

The first one I read was Allegiance by Timothy Zahn. It was about the "Emperor's Hand" and "Hand of Justice" and I liked it. It takes place just after Episode 4. Some other books I've read that happen around the time of the original trilogy I didn't like as much. For example, Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry (not the lead singer of Journey) takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and it was decent. There was no suspense if you know what happens in Jedi--Luke, Vader, and Leia will be alive, their attempt to rescue Han won't work, etc. However, it was neat to see how Luke grew as a Jedi.

For some reason, I can't get into books that happen after Jedi, like Heir to the Empire. There's just too much of the same stuff: someone on the light side goes to the dark side, someone on the dark side goes to the light side, over and over again.

I absolutely loved the first two Darth Bane books (Path of Destruction and Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn) and the third was OK. I also totally loved Death Star (by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry) which takes place during the construction of the original Death Star (i.e., just before Episode 4.) It had surprising depth.

Death Troopers and The Force Unleashed both read like video games (run, fight, run, fight) and for good reason--they were both based on/in support of games. Unleashed was OK, Troopers right out sucked. It's a Stephen King-ish horror novel that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe--no Force, no Sith, nothing, just some familiar settings and characters.

What does everyone else like?

Re:Somewhat O.T.: favorites? (1)

jpmoney (323533) | more than 2 years ago | (#36596998)

I've been reading the Fate of the Jedi series lately and its been enjoyable. Its pretty long-winded though which leads you to wonder how much of a cash-in it is that it is planned at 9 books.

I also fondly remember reading the Zahn books around when they came out. I was much younger then and I re-read them about a year and a half ago. They're still pretty good and got me back into the rest of the SW books.

Some minor edits... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36597094)

The first few chapters of the Zahn books were rewritten to include an improbable story about an eight-year old boy building his own robot, racing pods, and seducing a twenty-something queen. Its the vision Lucas always had from the beginning.

Star Wars: X-Wing Series is excellent! (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 2 years ago | (#36597538)

IF only Lucas had decided to make a bunch of offshoot movies based around this... oh well. They're a great read. Aaron Allston and Timothy Zhan are great writers.

Re:Star Wars: X-Wing Series is excellent! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36598878)

At some point someone is going to make more Star Wars flicks. Maybe not Lucas, but he isn't going to last forever and someone will wave heap loads of money in front of his kids' faces and that'll be it. They might even be better films without Lucas's involvement.

I will wait for extended 3D HD edition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36597614)

...unless special blu-e-book edition comes along.

Haha... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36597940)

Star Wars Fans can't read! This is silly...

I have some of the originals (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#36600266)

I hope they don't go down in value because of this!

Re:I have some of the originals (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36603246)

Your original multi-million-selling books are probably going to hold their value just fine. Although the Kindle editions are likely already priced higher.
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