Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Cory Doctorow

Who knows about this guy? I found him through his blog and it turns
out he's a pretty terrific writer. I downloaded his book Eastern
Standard Tribes (halfway done, terrific read!!!).

The intro however is the most interesting piece of this experience
for me so far...

The book was released under a creative commons license and has been
downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

An excerpt of that intro:

To that end, here is the book as a non-physical artifact. A file. A
bunch of text, slithery bits that can cross the world in an instant,
using the Internet, a tool designed to copy things very quickly from
one place to another; and using personal computers, tools designed
to slice, dice and rearrange collections of bits. These tools demand
that their users copy and slice and dice—rip, mix and burn!—and
that's what I'm hoping you will do with this.

Not (just) because I'm a swell guy, a big-hearted slob. Not because
Tor is run by addlepated dot-com refugees who have been sold some
snake-oil about the e-book revolution. Because you—the readers, the
slicers, dicers and copiers—hold in your collective action the
secret of the future of publishing. Writers are a dime a dozen.
Everybody's got a novel in her or him. Readers are a precious
commodity. You've got all the money and all the attention and you
run the word-of-mouth network that marks the difference between a
little book, soon forgotten, and a book that becomes a lasting piece
of posterity for its author, changing the world in some meaningful
way.

I'm unashamedly exploiting your imagination. Imagine me a new
practice of book, readers. Take this novel and pass it from inbox to
inbox, through your IM clients, over P2P networks. Put it on
webservers. Convert it to weird, obscure ebook formats. Show me—and
my colleagues, and my publisher—what the future of book looks like.

Pretty amazing stuff eh? Thinking about readers as the commodity and
not the writers really makes your head spin.

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