Cory Doctorow shows us how to do ‘wide spectrum’ ebooks. His new near-future science-fiction collection With A Little Help is offered for free in a dozen or more conversions for ebook readers, (inc. mobi for the Kindle), as free downloadable audio books, on-demand paid paperback editions from Lulu.com with four different covers, and as a sumptuous first-edition hardback for SF book collectors (around $300 with shipping). Donations are invited by PayPal for the free editions. By early May he’d reported a clear profit of $14,375, albeit on the back of his considerable name and talent.
The book itself? The Wall Street Journal says…
“Cory Doctorow’s latest collection of short stories is one of the best, most closely focused collections that science fiction has ever produced.”
The WSJ also has interesting things to say about the 150,000-word book SF series doorstop volumes that publishers demand (and often demand are padded into tedium, leading to the regrettable rise of the habitual ‘skimming reader’). The rise of these has led to a certain amount of neglect for writers who prefer to craft the novellas and short stories that are perhaps the natural home of the genre. The WSJ suggests that ebooks may turn the tide, emulating the vibrancy and competition of the pulp era that gave birth to science-fiction.