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Tor Books Is Giving Away E-Books

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what's-not-to-like dept.

Books 172

stoolpigeon writes "Tor Books is launching a new site and running a campaign in which they are giving away e-books (free as in beer) until the site goes live. To get in on the deal, fill out the form at their site, and each week you will receive a newsletter containing links to download a new book. The first two books are Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson followed by Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Scalzi's site says: 'My understanding is that they don't have DRM on them. Or at least, mine isn't supposed to have, and I don't think they're planning mine to be special in that regard.'"

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Releasing the good stuff or not? (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373148)

Will Tor be releasing as e-books those works where science fiction and fantasy reaches the best of world literature (for example, Tor holds the U.S. rights to Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun), or will they only be releasing their ephemeral "airport novels" that are only released in paperback and left to go quickly out of print? It's a pity that so far the only science fiction published to embrace e-books has been Baen, whose publications generally fall into the mindless entertainment sphere of science fiction.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373288)

There are other people who release ebooks: Sevens suns is available as an ebbok [diesel-ebooks.com] ..

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (1)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373626)

$5.43? Is that how much they're going to pay me to read one of Kevin J Anderson's hackfests?

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373632)

Haven't read it but $6 is less than I pay for public transport to visit my mom. It can't be that bad.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373802)

Yes, but to actually visit your mom I pay less than $6.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (1)

BarneyL (578636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373878)

Unless your mom is also your dentist and you need the majority of your teeth extracted then it's actually significantly worse.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (5, Funny)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374798)

Dude, if your self-designed-and-built elevator to bring you from the basement to the kitchen uses more than $6 in energy to do so, you're going to have to give me your Geek License. Sorry.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22375070)

... says someone with a username taken from Dragon Ball.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375826)

Dude, if your self-designed-and-built elevator to bring you from the basement to the kitchen uses more than $6 in energy to do so, you're going to have to give me your Geek License. Sorry.
Well if you want to be a Über Geek, it had better be Nuclear powered. [Best said in the voice of Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth [google.com] ]

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373974)

Well, if you'd read the article summary, you'd see that their second free title was a hugo nomimated work [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374048)

Is Tor giving free oatmeals?

TOR LIKE OATMEALS!

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (3, Insightful)

geeknado (1117395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374592)

I think that including Scalzi's best known novel is a good sign in this regard; it was well enough received to have spawned a number of sequels/prequels, most of which have had decently sized hardback runs. I wouldn't be totally shocked to see some well-known-but-older-titles available...Ender's Game, anyone?

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374652)

Give some people a fence around the world and they WILL complain that it's the wrong damm color.

Don't Like it? Don't read it.

Also I'd appreciate it if you kept your snooty attitude about the "value" of other peoples entertainment to yourself, you impress no one and annoy many.

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374768)

Mistborn is a really good book too

Re:Releasing the good stuff or not? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22375472)

Excuse me, they're "spaceport" novels

Hey I have no problem to by them (3, Informative)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373236)

As long as they are DRM free I can buy them! It's such a bitch to use clit [convertlit.com] everytime I buy and ebook. Do you guys know if there is a cracker for Mobipocket and PDF as well? The problem with Lit is that you have to have Windows to download books, which I don't have.. :-)

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373410)

are you too much of a cheap fag to afford windows or are you just too dumb to use it? no, don't tell me, you're one of those stupid nancy boys who thinks that linux or apple is better because of some shit that rolls around inside your head that you call a brain?

you're probably just a fag anyway. you belong to the linux fags.

feeding the trolls.. (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373666)

Yes I feel stupid when I use Windows, yes I'm a "fag", but gay sounds so much better doesn't it.. :-)

Re:feeding the trolls.. (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374054)

I am never gay when I have to use windows. It's such a shitty experience. All that shit makes me sad, not gay!

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373854)

are you too much of a cheap fag to afford windows or are you just too dumb to use it? no, don't tell me, you're one of those stupid nancy boys who thinks that linux or apple is better because of some shit that rolls around inside your head that you call a brain?

you're probably just a fag anyway. you belong to the linux fags.
I think you're confused. Mac users are fags. Linux users can't get laid [istheshit.net] .

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373912)

Silly troll, you're not allowed to use proper contractions.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (0, Offtopic)

malfist (1152363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373516)

You can always use virtualization. Personally I find innoteck's VirtualBox the easiest. I use it to run Dev-C++ (for windows bound programming) because Dev-C++ under wine displays dupicates of every file for some reason :( There's several good websites explaining how to set VirtualBox up, most are for ubuntu but it's pretty much the same for every distro. I run XP Ultimate (as in, Cracked by Johnny (thanks Johnny)) on it and it's nice to beable to launch it to run short, small apps. For every day use, I wouldn't recommend it but I don't think you need to crack PDF's every day, all day.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (5, Funny)

Tyir (622669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373622)

For some reason, they don't use that nickname that you're using for Convert LIT the official site.... I really can't imagine why.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373660)

But the default installation directory is C:\clit\.
Or at least was in previous versions.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (2, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375254)

Oh, but I bet they do around their office.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (5, Funny)

friedman101 (618627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373754)

I could never figure out how to use clit either. I think the trick is to just fumble around with it until something happens. A buddy of mine told me I should try it on my laptop. Never worked for me though, not enough RAM.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374852)

I AM THE C.L.I.T. COMMANDER! Remember that, commander of all C.L.I.T.s!

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375218)

My problem is that I'm used to hitting my computer when I hear a slight squeal so when I tried out clit and started hearing weird noises I kept kicking it until the noises stopped. I think I have to call 911 now...brb.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (2, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374078)

What format ARE the books in on Tor? I could find no mentioning of this, nor a privacy policy of how my name and e-mail would be used, and I would like to know both before I give them my details.
For all I know, they would be in a format I can't read, and they will sell my e-mail address to dozens of book related stores who will spam me to within an inch of my life. Or they may be in a format I can read, and they won't share my information with anyone. Problem is, they don't tell!

Keep TANSTAAFL in mind before jumping on a "free" offer.

Re: Lunches (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374244)

Well aware of this, I simnply submitted my net handle.

I'm hoping they have some other business plan than "bait & switch spam", which a smart marketing director should know is not so good for long term public relations when the word gets out.

I am starting to believe that the way to do this kind of thing properly is that the newsletters may indeed have a link to A book, such as the first couple in a series. Then since the source "dries up", the reader might be tempted into buying books 3-4.

Or, just "exposure" to other titles along with the goodwill they're already showing.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375174)

nor a privacy policy of how my name and e-mail would be used, and I would like to know both before I give them my details.Your e-mail will be stored on a laptop and then taken on several international flights. DHS will then sell your e-mail address to Wal-Mart to help revitalize the economy.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375450)

I could find no [...] privacy policy of how my name and e-mail would be used,
If you don't insist too heavily that it be called privacy policy, and can instead accept a privacy notice, you'll find one if you click the words "Privacy Notice" at the bottom of the form page.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (5, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374156)

It's such a bitch to use clit
Slashdot: we understand.

Re:Hey I have no problem to by them (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375542)

Microsoft Reader worked fine under wine last time I checked.

Baen Free Library (5, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373286)

Also see Baen's free library at http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]

Baen will also sometimes include a CD containing many E-books with certain hardbacks. It's made them some money from me, since I was introduced to certain series (1632, March Upcountry, Honor Harrington) via this.

Re:Baen Free Library (2, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373328)

Yep, and Baen offers a variety of formats. I read 1632 online one slow afternoon when there wasn't much news on /. (and I was still waiting on account approvals so I couldn't do any real work).

For those looking for more (4, Informative)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374034)

The Baen CDs (which include some novels not in the Free library) are also legally available online at sites like http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/ [thefifthimperium.com]

Re:Baen Free Library (2, Informative)

tchristney (133268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374074)

I've been a Baen library user for many years now. I have also bought dozens of titles through webscription.net. What I really like is I can download the books onto my Palm and carry enough books to last me a two week trip. Of course, if you don't like Sci-fi and fantasy then it won't be very attractive to you. You can also get loads of excellent free books from Project Gutenberg.

Read Old man's war (Hugo finalist) (4, Informative)

gozu (541069) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373314)

I own the book and it's a great read. Nice of Tor and Scalzi to give it away.

Re:Read Old man's war (Hugo finalist) (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374756)

Yeah - it was my introduction to Scalzi, and I'm stoked to get an electronic version to go with my dead tree edition. Android's Dream [geekbook.org] is also awesome. Shows he can write great action/comedy with a definitely dark twist. I've got Last Colony on preorder (waited for the paperback) and he just finished another set in the Old Man's war universe, Zoe's Tale. I'm looking forward to when that becomes available.

He had the guys from Penny Arcade do the artwork for Agent to the Stars [scalzi.com] - which has been available on-line for quite some time. He just seems like an all-round decent guy on his blog. Yeah- I'm a fanboy I guess, but he's just one of those really talented yet down to earth people that deserves to do well.

Re:Read Old man's war (Hugo finalist) (1)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375332)

Thanks for the recommendation, I for one will be checking it out :) (I mean, it's free)

Nice publicity by TOR - I've been buying their stuff for years, it's good to have something free for a change :)

Tor is on Webscription (3, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373326)

Tor has had quite a few titles on WebScription [webscription.net] for some time now. Since those are all DRMless, it's not unreasonable to expect that they're over the wibbles.

Re:Tor is on Webscription (2, Interesting)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373484)

Not really.

If you search for Tor as the publisher on the webscription store [webscription.net] , you'll find that Tor has a whopping ONE book available for sale (by David Weber, who usually writes for Baen anyway). They list a dozen others, but don't actually sell them.

There was a burst of hype, and even an /. article about Tor selling their stuff using Baen's DRM-free model a year or so ago, but they seem to have chickened out (or at least dragged their feet for a good long time, if this new mystery website has to do with selling DRM-free ebooks).

Re:Tor is on Webscription (2, Informative)

WolfWalker545 (960367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374566)

Tor's parent corporation got cold feet about the Webscriptions deal, but apparently has since reconsidered, and restarted negotiations. The titles currently listed are those that were posted during the several days between the original deal and the parent corporation vetoing it, so that the people who had purchased those books would still be able to access their copies (yes, Webscriptions will always allow you to redownload titles you've purchased from them, as long as they're still in business).

Tor? (5, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373334)

Am I the only one that wondered why Tor (the anonymity network) was giving away free ebooks?

Re:Tor? (1)

ipsi (1181557) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373408)

Nope. :)

Re:Tor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373436)

Same here I thought it was The Onion Router giving away e-books,
thought perhaps I might finally complete my collection of the C++
In-depth series by AW.

Re:Tor? (4, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373444)

Am I the only one that wondered why Tor (the anonymity network) was giving away free ebooks?
The free ebooks are part of a new steganographic exit node.

Re:Tor? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374602)

The free ebooks are part of a new steganographic exit node.
Yes! I think they are using stenography! I looked at one of the pages like a Magic Eye and saw a naked lady! I couldn't believe it so I did the same thing to another page and yet another naked lady appeared! They're burying porn in these books!

Re:Tor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373548)

I would have been confused if they used "TOR" instead of "Tor"

SciFi and Paranoia both seem to be earmarks of a good geek, so I'm sure ~90% of us got it off the bat, while ~9% confused the two, and 1% had no clue who Tor is.

All numbers pulled straight out of my bottom, but most likely completely accurate.

Re:Tor? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373744)

It's not paranoia if they are out to get you and I've read science fiction since I was a kid.

Re:Tor? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374642)

I'd assume they're trying to compete with Baen, who's been doing this for years. The Baen Free Library has had this sort of thing going for as long as I've been reading Honor Harrington

Wait, I started reading Honor as a result of seeing On Basilisk Station in the Free Library.

Note that, as a result of books I've read on the Free Library, I've bought about 40 hardbounds I would never have touched normally. So it's good business....

Still wating for a good e-book reader! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373340)

Get back to me when they have that is 1) shockproof and break proof 2) moisture proof 3) sub $100 (not $199, not $150, sub $100)

When I get back to my dorm, I throw my bag down. When I go to class, I toss my bag. If they aren't as durable as dead-trees, they aren't worth a penny.

Durability is an important as readability.

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

MttJocy (873799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373450)

Break-Resistant maybe, there is no such thing as "Break-Proof" all consumer electronic devices in fact electronic devices in general will break if given sufficient impact strangely enough very sensitive components don't like being smashed around, shock lol. There is no way that an electronic device is going to retain the same degree of usability as a dead tree under repeated impacts, the latter will break eventually, the former may get a bit battered but will retain the printing on the page all the same.

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373942)

Hold a match to a book for a second. Hold a match to a PDA for a second. Which is more usable afterwards?

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (2, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374082)

How about a more realistic situation?

Drop a book on the floor in a backpack and step on it. Do the same with a book. Which is likely to come out on top?

I agree nearly 100% with the original poster. I want durability and easy reading. A pda SUCKS for reading for more than a few mins. Lets take school for example, I was a chemistry major. I would have to have a big screen, with color, and I want to be able to draw on it. I wrote my books up like hell, and being that chemistry uses a lot of models and diagrams, being able to draw on the book is just as important as being able to read it.

This is why no one in my major used laptops during class. One guy with a tablet notebook did have his out for a few weeks, but ditched it for dead-trees.

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375546)

> Drop a book on the floor in a backpack and step on it. Do the same with a book. Which is likely to come out on top?

Ummm... the book? :]

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375566)

Good catch. I proofread that 2 times and still missed it!

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

gripen40k (957933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375594)

I'm an electrical engineer going on my fourth year, and have been using a slate-style tablet PC for a little over a year now. A Motion M1400 [pencomputing.com] to be exact, which I picked off of ebay for pretty cheap (see here [cgi.ebay.ca] , pretty cheap indeed). I can say without a doubt that a tablet with One-Note is far superior to a conventional paper notebook aside from price. I was able to scan assignments in for later reference, write up my homework, save and index presentations given by professors, and most importantly search my indexed notes for past lessons. Drawing is no problem, neither is annotating scanned documents. Plus it can be used as a pretty convenient e-book reader :).

Now about your durability argument, the larger the book is, the weaker the spine because it has to hold together more sheets of paper. I've wrecked the binding on more than one book since starting school, and I know that chem. students use some awfully large books. If you are stepping on and wrecking stuff in your room 'cause you left it on the floor, it's not the 'ebook's fault, it's yours for leaving it there in the first place!

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375646)

I didn't wreck my stuff because I wanted to keep my chem textbooks as a personal library, I have just seen how others treat their stuff.

Personally I have never tried a tablet pc, just seen how others have used them. During the last year of school someone came around campus and gave away copies of one note. I wanted to try it out, but didn't have the hardware to do so.

I did a quick ebay check for the M1400 and it looks like a solid machine, what was your impression of it? I have no intention of ever spending 4-digits on a notebook and for the specs, that looks pretty decent and since I might be heading to grad school here this summer, I'm on the prowl for handy hardware on the cheap.

Currently using an dell e1405 as my main machine.

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

GeneralAntilles (571325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375192)

Have you looked at purchasing a used Nokia 770 from ebay or somewhere similar? They're going regularly for under $100 these days. The screens are excellent to read on, battery life is decent, and the size is right. The hardcover means they're pretty damn durable, too.

Re:Still wating for a good e-book reader! (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375242)

Get back to me when they have that is 1) shockproof and break proof 2) moisture proof 3) sub $100 (not $199, not $150, sub $100)

Well, dead tree versions sure don't meet your second condition much better than electronics.

The financial break-even point between ebooks and treebooks depends entirely on how much you read, and whether you stick to paperbacks. With ebooks being so much cheaper than their treebook counterparts, many people can break even on the price of an ebook reader within a year, and it's just gravy from that point until the thing dies. There's also the matter of things an ebook can do that a treebook simply can't.

To each their own; they each have pros and cons. I don't necessarily see ebooks as _replacements_ for treebooks.

Could just break the habit... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375724)

I no longer toss my backpack so haphazardly, as I often have a laptop in there.

Durability is a good thing, but I suppose it's not as important to me as utility and price (so long as it's not actually fragile).

Cannot register (2, Informative)

teridon (139550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373360)

I get this error:
"We cannot register you at this time, but please check back in a few weeks for some great science fiction. Thanks!"

I have hard copies of the Mistborn books already, but e-book versions would have been nice...

Re:Cannot register (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22373680)

I got that too. Try disabling JavaScript.

Re:Cannot register (1)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374334)

I was informed, much to my surprise, that my email address is invalid. Huh.

Re:Cannot register (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375262)

I was informed, much to my surprise, that my email address is invalid. Huh.

Did you try a 'plus' email address? Some web developers are still kinda stupid when it comes to checking email address format validity. *sigh*

I Love Tor! (4, Funny)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373404)

Man, I even like that they give you an option of not sharing your info with third parties.

We give you the option of requesting that we not share personal information about you with third parties that are unrelated by common ownership with Macmillan for marketing use. Click here [mailto] to send us an e-mail with your name and e-mail address(es) if you DO NOT want us to share your personal information with unrelated third parties for their own marketing use.

I'm going to have to buy a few of their books this week instead of using the library, just to show my thanks!

Don't worry, it's only a few 1st & 2nd parties (4, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373714)

Macmillan is a privately-owned company, owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, a large German-based company. The company acquired a 70.81 per cent stake in Macmillan in April 1995, and purchased the remaining stake in 1999, at which point the Macmillan family formally ended its 156-year-ownership of the publishing house. Holtzbrinck owns around forty companies as well as Macmillan and is headquartered in Stuttgart. Its interests include book, magazine and newspaper publishers, television and radio companies and new media firms.

Re:Don't worry, it's only a few 1st & 2nd part (2, Informative)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374466)

Actually, Von Holtzbrinck Publishers US changed their name to Macmillan US sometime last year, and moved the head of Macmillan UK onto the Holtzbrinck board. But, yes, they are privately-held.

The Holtzbrinck family is unique in giving its subsidiaries a lot of freedom. The thinking is: if they make a lot of money, they're doing something right. Of course, the onus is on that subsidiary to keep performing. IIRC, Tor made some changes in their business model last year that started bringing in a lot more profit; this has given them the freedom to try some new things. Anyway, everybody is all worked up about "going digital", so I'm not surprised to see that Tor is pursuing that option, although I have to say I am a little surprised to see them offering DRM-free downloads. But it scores big points with their audience, and maybe they know that.

Disclaimer: I work for a Macmillan imprint.

Re:I Love Tor! (1)

EnderGT (916132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374462)

Mod Parent Informative! Sure, it's funny, but for those of us that may have forgotten to be paranoid today, it's good to know someone else read the fine print and told us about it!

Sounds too good to be true... (3, Interesting)

Hellcom (1041714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373414)

What does Tor get out of giving away free books? Are they planning to introduce a pay subscription or a store of some sort?

Re:Sounds too good to be true... (2, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373482)

I hope so!

Re:Sounds too good to be true... (1)

Zibblsnrt (125875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373618)

What does Tor get out of giving away free books? Are they planning to introduce a pay subscription or a store of some sort?

Mention on the front page of Slashdot and a bunch more attention/potential customers than they had two days ago?

Re:Sounds too good to be true... (4, Insightful)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373670)

This is just publicity until their new site is functional. They're not giving away an ebook a week, that is just till their real site comes online. Also, you have to read their newsletter they send to you to get the free ebook, so you'll be exposed to plenty of their products that you actually have to buy.

Too good to be true? What are you smoking - this is how I wish every publishing company worked (books, movies, music, art). Instead of just sending me crappy adds I haven't asked about, for products I don't want, they're paying me with free swag to view their adds that I actually asked to view. They are a business, so of course we'll have to pay for something eventually, but I'd be glad to give my money to a smart/savvy company with a good product.

I've been a huge fan of Baen since their free library, but on average I like Tor books better so this makes me much more happy.

Re:Sounds too good to be true... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374720)

I've been a huge fan of Baen since their free library, but on average I like Tor books better so this makes me much more happy.

And on average, I don't give much of a toss about either one. Very little genre fiction interests me these days. I'd love to see more mainstream/"literary" publishing houses try this out. (On a side note, think how many trees could be saved if they delivered Thomas Pynchon's latest as an e-book.)

Re:Sounds too good to be true... (3, Informative)

jhw539 (982431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375020)

Actually, authors have found via the Baen free library that giving away their books in e format resulted in increased sales. Not only did they see the obvious benefit of giving away book one of a series resulting in an increase in the sales of books two, three, four... But the sales of the free book also increased. Check out this interesting summary [baen.com] . Hopefully this doesn't really come as a surprise to Slashdotters, who are some of the loudest preachers of this type of market behavior.

E-books are the future! At least, they will be... (5, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373462)

I'm encouraged to see e-books taking a stronger position in the market, but I'm saddened that so much attention is being paid to products that are tied to DRM. When I buy a book, I tend to look at it as a long term investment in my personal library. That is, I'm buying a copy to own forever. This early in the industry, I have no confidence that any DRM scheme implemented now will last any significant length of time. Will I still be able to read the book 20 or (hopefully) 40 years from now?

It's a bit sad how so much effort is being made to obfuscate what is essentially the simplest of all computer formats: a text file. As others have repeatedly pointed out, there are some killer markets for these things in education. Saying goodbye to all those textbooks would be an unbelievable win for schools AND students.

I think three things need to happen before these things take off (and they eventually will):

1) The price needs to come down. A lot. $400 is just waaaay to much to make these things ubiquitous. Think about attractive one of these might be at $50. It would be hard to resist.
2) Lose the DRM / stop with the proprietary formats. Books, even more so than software, yearn to be free.
3) Major publishers and popular authors need to get on board. Unless the authors who people really want to read are available, the whole exercise is sort of pointless.

I can certainly afford a current-generation e-book reader, but until I can actually read the stuff I want to read, it's somewhat pointless. Here's hoping...

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373726)

...You're talking about (possible) DRM on a product given freely. This is about the only time I can accept DRM.
The books are part of an add campaign, and don't cost me a dime! I would be greedy to expect them to last beyond the the initial advertising push.
Sure, if I buy something I want complete control, but this seems more like borrowing.

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (1)

thedragon4453 (1236484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373776)

Im not sure why people look at it as being a $400 device. I've been reading ebooks on my palm (now a treo) since 2002. The first device I bought was $200, but you can get a cheap palm for as low as $99. I think that as the tech takes off, we'll see cheaper dedicated readers. Like you said, it is especially helpful in schools. I'd imagine that even now it would be cheaper to by a kindle or something for each student (for like 4 years or so) then a text book for each different subject. And last, I totally agree. As much as I hate DRM in all of its forms, putting it on ebooks just seems really stupid and shortsighted. I've got books that I've read dozens of times in the last 10 years, and I know that I haven't had the same computer, reader, phone, etc in that time. I don't really buy a lot of ebooks now because I want to be able to have them for a while.

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (2, Insightful)

chubs730 (1095151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373786)

This early in the industry, I have no confidence that any DRM scheme implemented now will last any significant length of time. Will I still be able to read the book 20 or (hopefully) 40 years from now?
DRM on text documents will be irrelevant by that point, if the industry does go that way. They've already got programs to automatically solve captchas so it seems reasonable that they'd be able to parse an ebook. Not to mention it's DRM, which will always be broken eventually.

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (1)

DaRat (678130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374680)

I think three things need to happen before these things take off (and they eventually will):

1) The price needs to come down. A lot. $400 is just waaaay to much to make these things ubiquitous. Think about attractive one of these might be at $50. It would be hard to resist.
2) Lose the DRM / stop with the proprietary formats. Books, even more so than software, yearn to be free.
3) Major publishers and popular authors need to get on board. Unless the authors who people really want to read are available, the whole exercise is sort of pointless.


Hmmm, sounds like the same arguments that people made about $400 iPods. Those things will never take off....



iPods are a good analogy. The price of the player doesn't have to come down. The DRM doesn't have to go away. But, the cost of the e-books has to be competitive (cheaper) than regular books), the major publishers have to be onboard in a big way, and the e-books have to be easy to get.

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375274)

I quite often read e-books on my smartphone (symbian s60) and I find it very handy... I always have a few books available to read, without having to lug the damn things around. I use Mobipocket reader, mainly with a 1gb archive of sci-fi books I found a torrent of once. The Mobipocket app is completely free, and supports unprotected text, html and pdf files. No *requirement* to use DRM with content you add yourself.

However, they do use their own flavour of DRM on books downloaded from their store. I'm no fan of DRM, but I think their system is pretty painless. When Pandora's Star (Peter F Hamilton) came out 2-3 years ago it was available as an e-book in mobipocket's store before my local bookstore had it in stock, so I brought it. I downloaded it from their website via the webbrowser on my phone after giving them my email address and my credit card number, no tedious account opening procedure was required.

Recently I upgraded my phone, and transferred over my data, including the e-book. No surprises, it wouldn't open. Damn DRM!

Curious to see if there was a way around this, I went to their website, entered my email address and got them to send me a new password. I logged on and pandora's star was listed under my books. I had to go through some process to register a new device (it was so simple I can't remember exactly what was required) and I was able to re-download the e-book.

Now of course if the company had changed their DRM system and didn't support their old system, or had gone under completely then I would be screwed. But with something that would be as simple to copy as a text file I can understand authors and publishers wanting some protection. Ideally the authors wouldn't need publishers and they could sell direct to their readers for such a low price that DRM wouldn't be required but we aren't there yet.

In the meantime I found their DRM very unobtrusive and I trouble free. I'll happily buy stuff from their store again.

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375344)

I fully agree with your points about DRM, but I respectfully disagree with your criticism of the price of e-Book readers and your requests for 'free' books for a number of different reasons.

You criticize the $400 pricetag without understanding how many companies failed before e-Ink became a reality. Please understand that it is an industry changing technology and the pioneering companies who developed it need to make money for the Venture Capitalists who invested in their ideas during the formative stages of the technology. Also, the components used in e-Ink are arguably in a stage of production that they don't enjoy the benefits of scale of mass-production that tends to lower prices.

On the other side of the coin, you don't seem to grasp the enormous effort that goes into writing a story or packaging a student textbook. The statement "Books yearn to be free" is a bit troubling. I suppose you might be reflecting purely on the "DRM-free" implication, but when you use the word 'free' it implies 'free to re-distribute'. From a very practical standpoint, I agree with you. I favor distributing my own novel [2076book.com] for "free" (though what is currently posted is what I will call a "polished draft copy"). However, what I DON'T agree with is the economical aspects of "freeness". It realistically takes anywhere from 1e3 to 1e4 hours to write and edit a manuscript worth reading... so when readers suggest that they should get a 'free' copy of the book, I respectfully disagree.

That being said, I hope that someday a compromise of a business model [2076book.com] is realized to transform the "pay, then enjoy" model into an "enjoy, then pay" system. And I think you would probably agree with me (based on "I can certainly afford a current-generation e-book reader"), but I just wanted to make a point:

Literature, software, music and movies are exist digitally and can theoretically be copied for $0, but the artists behind these formats still desire a business model so that they can potentially support themselves, and the nature of each of the different formats demands a different business model. For software, it is through support. For music, through performances. For movies, through rentals, disc DVD sales, and theatrical performances. For books, if you would accept the "enjoy, then pay" model it would make me (as an author) very happy.

Re:E-books are the future! At least, they will be. (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375928)

2) Lose the DRM / stop with the proprietary formats. Books, even more so than software, yearn to be free.

I'm sure this will be modded as troll but so be it since this needs to be said. Quit anthropomorphising books and software. Neither 'yearns' to do anything. They're both man made object that have no feelings whatsoever. PEOPLE yearn to free them just as PEOPLE yearn to lock and exploit them. Saying that an inanimate object yearns to be free pretty much guarantees that sane rational people will ignore and ridicule you.

Now does SOCIETY benefit from books that aren't locked in with DRM? I can make lots of good arguments that it does. Argue that instead of attributing stupid "feelings" to books and software that make you sound like you still belong in a nursery.

This needs... (0, Redundant)

edsousa (1201831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22373756)

All you e-books are belong to us!

US only ? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374190)

Since the form requires a ZIP code, is this offer limited to the USA ?

Re:US only ? (1)

nude-fox (981081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374238)

heres a savy tip ehh? google for a united states city on google maps and put in the zip code winnar!

Re:US only ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374412)

Just go pick a random address off of zabasearch.com, that's what I do...

Re:US only ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374972)

Since the form requires a ZIP code, is this offer limited to the USA ?
It accepted a 4 digit Australian code

Giving away? (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374218)

Usually when you give away something you no longer have that thing. Tor isn't "giving away" anything. It is giving copies of its ebooks.

Re:Giving away? (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374968)

They are "giving away" ebooks just as much as slashdot is "giving away" all these fancy html documents.

Re:Giving away? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22375384)

They are "giving away" ebooks just as much as slashdot is "giving away" all these fancy html documents.

My God, I never thought of that! How can Slashdot possibly afford to give all these things away for free?

Answer: Volume!

Hate reading on the computer (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374270)

I most be a silent majority, but I hate reading on the computer and screens. I much prefer the paper formats, and I will continue to do so. Not to mention they're much harder to lose due to catastrophic computer failure.

Re:Hate reading on the computer (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374416)

I most be a silent majority, but I hate reading on the computer and screens.
So do I but paper books are all too often a pain to get and take a while to acquire. A lot of them also aren't in print which theoretically wouldn't be a problem with non-drm e-books.

Not to mention they're much harder to lose due to catastrophic computer failure.
Mu, neither is lost due to catastrophic computer failure. Yet paper books can be destroyed, burned, dropped into a puddle and destroyed in tons of such ways. E-books I can simple re-download or restore from backup.

However... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374778)

It is hard to read by candlelight when the power goes out and you are waiting for your computer and the Internet to come back up.

Re:Hate reading on the computer (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374918)

So do I but paper books are all too often a pain to get and take a while to acquire. A lot of them also aren't in print which theoretically wouldn't be a problem with non-drm e-books.
mmm of course practically it probabblly would be. Look at music, with physical formats I can legally order a copy from practically anywhere in the world. It will almost certainly come in under the import duty/vat threshold so no problems there.

With legit online music I am far more limited, Most vendors are either heavilly geographically restricted or of questionable legality to use. Because it is the vendor and thier customer working together to do the copying they are involved with copyright at a much more direct level than with physical media and that gives the copyright holder far more power.

Mistborn is fantastic! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374316)

I read this recently and it was one of the best fantasy novels I've read in years. The premise behind the world is "what if the prophecied hero failed?" It has a very creative and richly described magic system, likable and well fleshed-out characters, and the ending is superb.

Oh, and Brandon Sanderson is also the author who is going to write the final book to finish off the Wheel of Time series. Harriet (Robert Jordon's widow) picked him to finish the series after reading this book.

So like, yeah, you should totally spend your $0 to download it. And if you like it, maybe even buy the book! I mean, we all register our shareware, right?

e-novel.org (2, Informative)

moogs (1003361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22374396)

I'm surprised that nobody brought up http://e-novel.org/ [e-novel.org] yet. The books there are my favorite. Whoever this Jonathan Dunn is... Sci-fi/philosophy fans, try the revolutions of time. Fantasy fans, try The Forgotten King... and The Hedonist is for everyone, i guess. check it out, http://e-novel.org/ [e-novel.org]

Lead, Follow, or Imitate! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22374576)

Baen On-Line Library has been doing this for a few years with no registration, DRM, or email addresses needed.

http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]
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