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Tor Books Is Giving Away E-Books 172

Posted by kdawson
from the what's-not-to-like dept.
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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Tor Books Is Giving Away E-Books

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:34PM (#22373148) Homepage
    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.
    • by emj (15659)
      There are other people who release ebooks: Sevens suns is available as an ebbok [diesel-ebooks.com]..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ucblockhead (63650)
      Well, if you'd read the article summary, you'd see that their second free title was a hugo nomimated work [wikipedia.org]...
      • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday February 11, 2008 @12:52AM (#22376114) Journal

        The funny thing is that Tor has occasionally done this before [forbes.com]. Baen also does this [baen.com] on an ongoing basis.

        Turns out that people don't read books much and it's hard to get someone interested in a new writer, or in some cases, a new series by an existing writer. Once you get your foot in the door with free copies, though, you actually end up selling more than you would have if you didn't give stuff away. Weird, huh? :-)

    • by geeknado (1117395) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @08:28PM (#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?
      • Hmm, I doubt that. Ender's Game probably still sells very well.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by xstonedogx (814876)
          Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series sells very well, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them offer The Eye of the World (the first in the series) for free. Tor offered the first eighteen chapters of the novel for free in order to sell the series (it worked on me). Those were physical books which had to be printed and shipped. Giving away free e-books in large scale must be orders of magnitude cheaper - especially if they lack DRM.

          Ender's game may be kind of a special case, since the first novel is the most
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rotor (82928)
            When I first read Ender's Game 10 years ago I'd have agreed that it was the most compelling. Re-reading as a 33 year old I've found that Speaker For The Dead is by far the better book. Sure, it's a lot slower paced, but I found it to be more interesting overall.
    • Sanderson's Mistborn is a great book (and the first part of a trilogy, which is, I guess, why they give it away for free - the book has a proper ending, though, so you don't need to read the other two books if you end up not liking it). I haven't read the other one, but it has 4 1/2 stars on amazon.com, so I imagine it's pretty good, too.
  • by emj (15659) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:43PM (#22373236) Homepage Journal
    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.. :-)
    • by Tyir (622669) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:30PM (#22373622) Journal
      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.
    • by friedman101 (618627) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:45PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arth1 (260657)
      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 be
      • 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 "expos
      • 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.
      • by QuickFox (311231)

        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.
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        I would like to know both before I give them my details.

        Plenty of disposable email sources. I use Sneakemail. I create a new one for every forum, registration, etc. They all redirect to my normal account, unless they start getting spam when I can delete or filter them.

    • by i_liek_turtles (1110703) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @07:26PM (#22374156)

      It's such a bitch to use clit
      Slashdot: we understand.
  • Baen Free Library (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nimey (114278) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:46PM (#22373286) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AJWM (19027)
      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).
    • by thisissilly (676875) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @07:12PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tchristney (133268)
      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.
  • by gozu (541069) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:50PM (#22373314) Journal
    I own the book and it's a great read. Nice of Tor and Scalzi to give it away.
    • 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 o
    • by Acer500 (846698)
      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 :)
  • by overshoot (39700) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:52PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RalphBNumbers (655475)
      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 se
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by WolfWalker545 (960367)
        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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by webmaster404 (1148909) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:53PM (#22373334)
    Am I the only one that wondered why Tor (the anonymity network) was giving away free ebooks?
    • Re:Tor? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:07PM (#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.
      • 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!
    • 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....

      • by torkus (1133985)
        I can't say i've purchased any "real" books as a result of webscriptios or the baen free library but I have purchased quite a few e-books i never would have bought (or found for that matter) in the store.

        I've also gotten several other people interested in their books either via the free section or by passing on ebooks i've purchased. And before anyone cries foul - that is specifically PERMITTED (i.e. giving copies to friends of "non-free" books). Yes, just like a real book - I can let my buddy at work rea
    • by earlymon (1116185)
      Nope.

      I even hoped to finally learn why Tor likes oatmeal in this thread, but that didn't happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
      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
      • by Laur (673497)

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

        Really? Perform this simple experiment: dunk a book in water (worst case scenario), dry it off as best you can with a towel, then lay it out open to dry. Optional: once it's dry compress it under something heavy (like more books) for a few days. Aside from some warping, is it still readable? Now try the same with a $400 electronic ebook reader or PDA.

        With ebooks being so much cheaper than their treebook counterpart

    • 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).
    • When I get back to my dorm, I throw my bag down. When I go to class, I toss my bag.

      When you get a little older and acquire a bit of debt, you'll tend to treat your stuff with more care. It doesn't really cost all that much energy to place your bag on the floor instead of flinging it.
      Even with the e-book devices' disadvantage of inferior structural integrity, to me the advantages makes it worth it. Treat it like you would treat a laptop or even an mp3 player, and you should be fine.

      I agree about the price

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pnutjam (523990)
        My "bag of books" is about the size of a deck of cards and sits easily in my front pocket. I'm not so tired of carrying it I have to toss it down. That's what ebooks do for me. I read fast and always used to dread that moment when you know your going to be waiting around for along time, but your almost done with a book, or far enough in you know you'll finish it soon. Do you take a new book (which you might not like), carry two books, or just take the one and hope for the best. With a dozen books on my
    • by belg4mit (152620)
      Maybe if you didn't treat your posessions as outlets for your childish agressions and negligent manhandling this
      wouldn't be an issue.
    • by bwcbwc (601780)
      Any good laptop should work with RTF or HTML formatted books. And I doubt you throw your laptop around your dorm the way you do your bag.
  • Cannot register (Score:3, Informative)

    by teridon (139550) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#22373360) Homepage
    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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I got that too. Try disabling JavaScript.
    • I was informed, much to my surprise, that my email address is invalid. Huh.
      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
        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! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#22373404) Journal
    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!
    • by DrSkwid (118965) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:41PM (#22373714) Homepage Journal
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by raddan (519638)
        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 p
      • Holtzbrinck was a Nazi. [observer.com] He published propaganda. He was allowed to survive in business as a direct result. I wonder what kind of books will be published by his companies if Bush/Cheney manage to impose their world view upon the rest of us. . .

        Interestingly enough, all the biggest book and magazine publishers in the West, when you trace back their ownership flow charts, have prominent Nazi family names sitting squarely in the commanding boxes at the top. Holtzbrinck is actually one of the smaller players
    • by EnderGT (916132)
      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!
  • by Hellcom (1041714) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I hope so!
    • by Zibblsnrt (125875)
      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?
    • by Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:36PM (#22373670) Journal
      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.
      • by PCM2 (4486)

        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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jhw539 (982431)
      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.
    • by swillden (191260)

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

      The same thing Baen gets out of giving away free books [baen.com]. In this case, Tor is just giving away a few free now until their store opens. If they're smart, though, they'll follow Baen's example and set up a permanent free library that features one or two of the best books from each author.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Maserati (8679)
        "...one or two of the best books from each author."

        Baen's success in giving books away came from releasing the first books in a series for free when later volumes come out. Bookstores are awful about making sure they have the first books, and they're awesome about heavily promoting the newest one. Even if they can't sell you the ones you missed. Baen found a way around that, give stuff away that isn't in print. And real books are enough nicer than ebooks that people were buying up an author's books after be
        • by swillden (191260)

          Baen's success in giving books away came from releasing the first books in a series for free when later volumes come out

          Somewhat, but it's also about providing samples of each author. If you take a look at the Free Library contents, you'll find that it contains not just a book or two from each author, but in most cases arguably the *best* of their books, even if they aren't from a series. It works because people like to stick with authors that they know, and have confidence in.

          And real books are enough nicer than ebooks that people were buying up an author's books after being introduced to them by free ebooks.

          Personally, I think real books suck. I rarely read anything I can't get in electronic form, just because paper books are a pain to read. Baen'

        • Baen's success in giving books away came from releasing the first books in a series for free when later volumes come out.

          On the commercial side, the fact that they sell their eBooks for a reasonable price and without DRM is what makes me happy. While I may take advantage of the free library, I'm very content at the moment to be reading some zero-DRM books that I bought from their store.

          (Using a Sony PRS-505... and very happy.)

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:10PM (#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...
    • 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.
    • 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 who

    • 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
    • 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 stage

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        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.

        There's a

        • by RobBebop (947356)

          Convenience to curl up with a disposal, replaceable relic of intellectual stimulation, you say?

          You might want to consider trying something...

          # 8x11" two-page format for book capable printing [Download [2076book.com]]

          Find a good quality printer the fits 200+ sheets of paper and will reliably NOT insert the occasional blank sheet of paper during printing (I have used laser printers at my office to do this in the past, and it has worked like a charm).

          (a) Print (I think you need to select Landscape format).

          (b) Flip the pages over and put them back into the printed so that you'll print to the reverse side (paying carefully attention to put it in the correct orientation) and print again (so that even-numbered pages print on the back of odd numbered pages, and vice-versa).

          (c) You can then cut the pages down the middle (I have a cheapo paper slicer for this, which makes it easy to line up 10-12 pages and then make a clean cut down the middle - though an office supply store might offer to do this for you).

          (d) Sort the pages into two-copies of the story. Bring each stack down to the local office supply store to bind two-copies of the novel. Staples or Kinkos generally provides a service where they will "tape bind" a manuscript. You can add a cardboard front and back cover (have them cut it in half for you, so it fits) and it should cost between $3 and $4 per copy after all is said and done.

          [and any feedback on these instructions is encouraged... because I would love for this procedure to be straightforward enough that people can easily print my book].

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pnutjam (523990)
          The same goes for the longevity of the newspaper - given that everyone can get their news off the web, why do newspapers still exist? Why doesn't everyone just read the same news via a laptop at the table?

          Because of old people, how many under 30's do you know that get a daily newspaper?
    • 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
    • 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.

      Nah. The price of the readers isn't that much of a problem. Give one a try for a while, and if the stuff you like to read is available for it, you'll quickly decide that it's well worth $400. eBook devices are MUCH better for reading than paper book After doing most of my reading on an eBook for the last 4-5 years, I find I really, really dislike reading paper. It's so inconvenient.

      Lose the DRM / stop with the proprietary formats.

      Yeah, except that according to the summary, it appears they are probably following Baen's example and publishing withou

    • 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.

      If you look around, you can pickup something like the Sony PRS-505 for under $300. Which is a good bit less then $400 and was inexpensive enough for me to say "I'll try it".

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

      Books don't yearn to be free. They're inanim
  • 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.
    • by Locklin (1074657)
      They are "giving away" ebooks just as much as slashdot is "giving away" all these fancy html documents.
      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
        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!
  • e-novel.org (Score:2, Informative)

    by moogs (1003361)
    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]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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]
  • If the content is anything like the free iTunes giveaways, I'll pay not to read. As I said here [wordpress.com]:

    * Overall, the issue of context for reviews makes me think about why trusted criticism and publishing gatekeepers are so important: you're more likely to read a book or review about a subject if you have a preexisting indicators that you aren't wasting your time and that someone has vetted whatever you're reading. This could be generalized to the chicken-and-egg problem of blogs more generally: you don't have cr

  • Project Gutenberg (Score:3, Informative)

    by slashmojo (818930) on Monday February 11, 2008 @04:51AM (#22377140)
    There are over 20,000 free ebooks available at Project Gutenberg..

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ [gutenberg.org]

    Also available in text, html and the handy plucker format which is what I use to read ebooks on my old zaurus.

    Here's one just for slashdot crowd.. Beowulf [gutenberg.org] ;)

    They have a quite extensive sci fi collection..

    http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Science_Fiction_(Bookshelf) [gutenberg.org]

    You wont get the latest books there but still lots of great stuff.
  • Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" is a good read and might be of particular interest to Wheel of Time fans since he's the guy who's going to be finishing off that series. I really liked his magic and the action scenes involving it are fun.
  • ... in dead tree format. Why couldn't they include crappy books I don't already own!

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