Links of Interest (July 18th 2008 Through August 21st 2008)

Tor’s e-book giveaway: Someone is WRONG on the Internet
Tor books recently gave away a batch of free e-books as publicity for the new Tor.com. Many of the books were of the “first in series” variety. Some folks expected to be able to buy the sequels at Tor.com when it launched, and weren’t happy to find they could not. A representative from Tor responded, and it seems thing got a bit heated. An interesting look at an unintended side effect of “free” (be sure to read the comments).
Zombies attack musician, everyone laughs (including musician)
JoCo attacked by Zombies an the 2008 New Media Expo
It’s a tasty thing
J. Dack posits “Scalzi’s Law”. I doubt this will be disproved any time soon.
Ballantine Books to Publish Book Inspired by the Webcomic Garfield Minus Garfield
I enjoy the heck out of “Garfield Minus Garfield”, but I assumed it would go the way of “Dylan Hears a Who”. I applaud Jim Davis and Ballantine Books for embracing the comic strip remix rather than issuing the standard cease and desist notice.
PDTool
A sliderule to help determine copyright status.
A Talk with JoCo
Five part interview with Jonathan Coulton (both mp3s and transcripts are available).

2 Comments

  1. Kris Johnson says:

    I just read through a handful of comments on the original Tor thread. Everyone seemed to be getting along fairly well early on and I started to wonder if perhaps Meadows had linked to the wrong post. Then I passed the halfway mark and things started to get all kinds of ugly.

    Jason, I don’t know what your personal feelings are on this, but I think the whole kerfuffle touches on a larger issue of the entitlement people feel (justly or otherwise) when they’re given access to free content. I downloaded all of the free Tor e-books (and many of the excellent wallpaper images, too) and I wasn’t at all surprised or bothered to learn that—at least in the short term—the only way to get the sequels would be to buy the print version. Why? Because I don’t think e-books have the kind of market penetration to justify making every title in every series available in the format.

    Oh, and to those people who made the analogy to movie trailers, I say this: I see a lot of movie trailers when I’m watching television, but I don’t get even mildly annoyed when the movie is released and I have to go to a theater to watch it.

    There’s no “bait and switch” when you’re giving away free stuff, I’m sorry. If J.C. Hutchins had released Books One and Two of 7th Son as free podcast novels and then announced that Book Three would initially be available only in print, I would have happily plunked down my money and read that sucker and applauded J.C. for being a brilliant (if a bit devious) marketer.

    Would it have been incredibly savvy of Tor to make the follow-up titles to their freebies available in electronic formats? Absolutely. Were they in any way obligated to make those titles available as e-books based on their freebies? I don’t think so.

  2. Jason Penney says:

    Kris,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I can always count on your remarks to be well though out and/or hilarious.

    I applaud (and even agree) with your stance on the free to pay change over. That type of thing has to happen at some level. If there’s nothing in it for the content producer besides good feelings it’s naive to expect the free content to keep flowing. Unfortunately a lot of folks see the move from free to pay as “selling out” rather than “making it”.

    As to the Tor e-books issue, I have no real strong opinion. I just thought it was a useful case study to make note of. I agree there was no “bait and switch”, and that giving away free stuff is not a promise of continuing to give away free stuff. I, personally, was disappointed to find that Tor.com was not selling e-books (especially given how e-book savvy they appeared to be during the freebie promotion), but hopefully the situation will be rectified.

    I do dislike the chicken-and-egg/market-penetration dance. As the cost of producing/storing/distributing something approaches zero, market-penetration should be less of an issue since even a handful of sales can turn a profit.