Jul 19 2008 4:13am

Freebies Bonanza

Farewell, little holding page

As you know, Bob (a phrase universally understood to precede an Expository Lump, in which one or more characters explain how the world has been changed by the invention of the chronosynclastic bolonium drive), for some months now, has been making free, un-DRMed electronic editions of particular Tor titles, one per week, available to people who register at the page which has been temporarily holding down the URL. This has had some odd side-effects, such as convincing some people that the name of the site you are now looking at will be “Watch the Skies,” or that its main purpose will be to give away free e-books, perhaps along with free cars, savings bonds, real estate, a pony, etc.

At any rate, now that the life of our doughty little holding page is drawing to a close (shed a tear), we thought we’d make everything we gave away there—all the novels, all of the desktop wallpaper—available for one additional week, starting today and running through Sunday, July 27. We’ve even gone back and added formats that weren’t available at first, so all of you who mourned (for instance) the lack of a Mobipocket version of Mistborn can now find happiness. Anyway, get ’em while they’re here. Act now, act without thinking! Full list, with links, below the fold.

Update, 28 July 2008: All taken down now, as previously announced.  Those of you who downloaded this stuff—we hope you enjoy it!

David Yaffe
2. dyaffe
Any chance that you could post Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa in HTML and/or mobi formats?

Sam Weber
3. Slither
Thanks very much for all of the books! I discovered a bunch of new-to-me authors, and quite enjoyed myself.

One question though: when can we buy ebook versions of "The Ghost Brigades" by Scalzi, "Ha'Penny" by Walton, "Axis" by Wilson, and other books by your authors?

I'm going to be spending 32 hours on plane flights in a couple of weeks -- help save my sanity!
Rolf Laun
5. LeRat
Fantastic! I love having these covers/artworks as my background art on the computer.
Kara Vasa
6. karavasa
You may want to edit the links for the last desktop, they currently point to the wrong artwork. If anyone's trying to download that last painting, just change the artist's name in the link.
Angela Korra'ti
7. annathepiper
Thanks much for providing us with these books. :)
Phillip Nunemacher
8. philn
Thanks so much for the free ebooks. I've discovered a number of authors that I had never read before but will continue to look for in the future.
9. daffy4u
Your free book program has introduced me to books and authors I would not normally check out. Thanks for broadening my reading horizons.

And please tell Cherie Priest I need her other books in ebook form. :)
Kermit Rose
10. Kermit1941

I downloaded the first four books.

Then the downloads quit working for me.


I can use only PDF format.

Kermit Rose

Liza .
11. aedifica
Thanks! I've been wanting to read Farthing ever since Fourth Street Fantasy.
Clifton Royston
12. CliftonR
Damn it, you guys... uh... what's the opposite of suck?
13. DMcCunney
Well, the teaser emails were a lot of fun, and the new site looks nice indeed. But I do have one question.

The teaser emails included links to ebook versions of selected Tor content, including books from folks like John Scalzi and John Wright that were parts of series.

I've seen a fair bit of commentary elsewhere from folks who got the Scalzi and Wright titles, and want to get the others in the respective series as ebooks, too, but you aren't selling them.

There is a market for ebooks, and a fair number of people who would like to buy them from you. The fact that you issued titles as ebooks in the first place shows you have the capability of making them. Now all you need to do is sell them. Who do we lobby to make this happen?

My guess is that Tor parent company Holtzbrinck is trying to come up with a digital content strategy that will apply to all of their imprints, and Tor can't simply go it alone. Is there an appropriate party at Holtzbrinck to encourage?
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
14. pnh
Dennis: no, actually, Tor parent company Macmillan is actively converting all titles to which we have digital rights. It really is just a matter of time before the majority of our library is available in e-book form.

The brief flap over the Baen deal seems to have convinced several years' worth of fannish commentators that there's some kind of dire drama going on behind the scenes where Tor and e-books are concerned. There really isn't. There are issues of workflow and rights, just as there are everywhere else. I think you'll see lots more e-books in lots more formats in the next few months.
Steven Brust
15. skzb
I want to play! I want to play!

Strange, isn't it, to be feeling jealous because a web site isn't giving YOUR stuff away for free? But, hey, we're living in a post-Doctorow world now; that's what happens.

-- A pixel-stained techno-peasant wretch
Maurizio Manzieri
16. MaurizioManzieri
Hey! It's Christmas time or the Moon Landing Anniversary? What I'm breathing here is a flavour of New Age!

Thanks, Tor!
17. Elsi
@ pnh -- thanks for that response. While I've been quite excited to receive the free eBooks, I'm even more anxious to be able to buy books which I can read on my Kindle or on my Sony PRS 505. I want to support the authors (and TOR as the publisher) who were generous enough to give away some many great books.

This promotion introduced me to some authors I had never heard of and whose books I might never have known about. I haven't read them all, but I am impressed with the books that I have read so far.

I'll second DMcCunney's request that you not leave us eBook readers stranded with only the first book in a series available in electronic format. Having invested in an eBook reader, I'm not inclined to buy books printed on paper. In particular, I want to read more from Patti O'Shea's series about Ryne, the magical troubleshooter.

I'm looking forward to seeing electronic books from TOR for sale somewhere -- whether at your own site or somewhere else.

Thanks again,
18. Khriksin (aka Martha (and cat))
Thanks so much for offering these! I've been meaning to try out some new authors and this is a great chance for me to do. ^_^
19. Sandra Willis
I have really enjoyed the ebooks that I have read already.

Getting this chance to get the ones that I had missed really makes me be trenched in favor of this Tor universal weay of business! I really appreciate it.
Christopher Hawley
20. chawley650
Minor nit: the links for Lars Grant-West’s personal painting, Cybordragon all appear to refer to the preceding block of Rick Berry.

As one of the less-organized followers, I thank you for bringing these works back one more time -- and of course, thanks to the artists and you for bringing them to us in the first place!
Fred Schoening
21. FredicvsMaximvs
Any chance we'll see Tor e-books in the lrf format? I absolutely love my Sony PRS-505, but it doesn't handle pdfs very well. I'm not sure if it's the metadata in the pdf or what, but the Sony software assigns incomprehensible names to the files, making it very hard to find the specific book you want to read.
Even plain text would be better.
Madeline Ferwerda
23. MadelineF
This is awesome! I missed several books I really wanted to taste because "Follow this email link before Friday" is not something I'm good with. Off to tell others.
Arachne Jericho
24. arachnejericho
One error 404 item:

Wallpaper: Foster 1600x1200 size is missing (404)

Also, another vote for Three Shadows to be Mobi-ized and HTML-ized. But at least there's the PDF.

Everything else is peachy keen. Thanks, Patrick.
David Singleton
25. drsingleton

Thank you for all the hard work and the book giveaways. I look forward to making a regular stop.
Glennis LeBlanc
26. Glennis
I'm glad I checked to list or I would have missed the latest addition.
Larry Scroggins
27. LeisureSuitLarry
PNH, It would be very nice if the last book was available in mobi format; however, if it isn't that's what the wonderful little mobi-creator app is for. I've been dying to see what this website was going to look like since the promo began. After following the old, never-updated site for years (seriously, after a while you stopped even bothering to update the release schedule for more than a year) I'll be happy to see something that consistently drives me here.
28. Captain bitmap
Fab idea. Should create a greater audience for the writers.
29. Derek Clarke
The current version of Mobipocket Reader for the PC can convert PDFs to Mobipocket format.
Arachne Jericho
30. arachnejericho
Hmmm. Can MobiPocket deal with images well? Because Three Shadows is a graphic novel.
31. Revenantactual
First off, thanks for all the books! Second, just wanted to let you know that the 1600x1200 link for the Mobiebot desktop gives a 404. Also, I just wanted to say that I hope that when Tor ebooks are available for sale, they will continue to be DRM free, especially if the are not lrf format for my Sony PRS-500 reader. DRM tends to make changing format rather unpleasant.
Kendall Bullen
32. kendallpb
Awesome, thanks for putting these up; I'd missed a couple.

FYI, Mercedes Lacky's first named is misspelled. Also, some apostrophes are coming out (for me) as cap O with an accent of some sort. (I've made this happen on web pages I maintain, by pasting so-called "smart" quotes on a Mac into an HTML file, uploading, and viewing in a browser--forgetting to straighten/stupefy the quotes; I'm guessing something vaguely similar happened here.)

Anyway, thanks again for all these links in one place!
33. Gary Young
Its good to hear that you will be making your books available in ebook format again. It can't be soon enough for me.

When the big day does arrive, could you please make some sort of policy statement to address questions like:
- which formats will you be supporting, why this one, and not that one?
- with DRM or not?
- at the same time as the hard cover, the same time as the paper back, or at some later time?
- one book at a time, or in 'bundles'?

It's your business and your decision. I'll live with it, whatever you do, but it would make me happy to have some general idea of your policy.

Anyway, thanks for the free books and illustrations.
I look forward to buying many more in the future.
Chris Gladis
34. MShades
Thanks again for all the fantastic work that went into this. It might make me think about possibly considering moving away from my beloved dead-tree editions. Someday. Maybe.
Soon Lee
35. SoonLee
CliftonR wrote:
Damn it, you guys... uh... what's the opposite of suck?

Blow? No, wait...
Blue Tyson
36. BlueTyson
Thanks very much. Stoopid me forgot to save the Martiniere!
37. Miki_S
Quote: Dennis: no, actually, Tor parent company Macmillan is actively converting all titles to which we have digital rights. It really is just a matter of time before the majority of our library is available in e-book form. :EndQuote

I would like to second, third, or fiftieth what others have said. Having received a number lovely free ebooks that are first in a series, I am waiting with credit card in hand for some of the follow-up books!

If I had a choice of formats, it'd be eReader (if you're going to DRM the remaining books). No DRM and I could happily convert from a number of formats into the one I prefer.

Thanks for all the wonderful freebies, by the way.
38. Anansii
Wheeeee.... just downloaded the lot with Down Them All (prc format). You have just doubled my to read stack, and given that I'm unfamiliar with a number of these authors this may well have greater long term consequences. Which I assume is the idea. :) Congrats on the new site and long may it wave.
39. Anansii
And a note to arachnejericho (nice screen name): Yes and no - MobiPocket handles images just fine, but how well you get to see them depends on the screen you read them off of. Desktops and laptops are fine; I wouldn't even TRY to read a graphic novel on my Palm TX (which is where I usually read ebooks. Sharp screen/fits in my pocket/ holds a LOT.)
40. Anansii
Hello, and thanks for all the books!
Laurie Ashton
41. LMAshton
Another thank you for all the books!
Paul Eisenberg
42. HelmHammerhand
Yet another thanks. Nice job, Tor people.
Wait, lets change it up a bit:
43. CPU
I'll add my thanks for all the books too!
Debbie Moorhouse
44. GUDsqrl
Tried three? four? times to get one of the downloads. I suspect it's my lousy dial-up to blame. Yes, I AM the last person in the Northern Hemisphere with dial-up--how'd you know?

Seriously, you couldn't keep them available until I get my DSL? August, it's coming. Tick tick tick!
Ruby Blotzer
45. angellemarcs
Thanks for the free ebooks. They are all so great, even though I have most in my paper library already. LOL!
46. seajay06
Many thanks!
Gabriele Campbell
47. G-Campbell
I don't like to read onscreen, but I do like to browse books. I can't browse English books in Germany, though (except those that have the Search Inside feature on, and those download thingies come really handy.

I'm sure there will be a nice order via one of these days - with so many titles to browse I'm sure I'll find a few I want to buy as real books. :)
48. Valichi
Thanks again for the free ebooks and wallpapers. I'm going to miss the email every Friday with a new ebook to try out.

I'm anxiously awaiting your onslaught of ebooks for my Kindle. I'm especially anxious to get the latest Taltos novel by Steven Brust. I spent hours looking to see if there was an ebook version of that one somewhere...anywhere...even in Sony .lrf format :-)

Seriously, I'm glad to hear that Tor is moving forward in this area. Please keep up the good work, and you'll defiantly be able to count on me being a frequesnt visitor to your site!
49. Anysia
Thank you, Tor, for doing ebook giveaways right!

And the opposite of 'sucks' is 'rocks' (or at least it was in the late '80s). :-)
50. sptb1
Thanks for the freebies. I guess this means I'll be buying the back catalogue of more Authors!

A plea for when you make you catalogue available for purchase as ebooks - please don't encrypt them.

I've bought ebooks that have been encrypted which prevents them from being transfered to my Bebook Reader.

Again thanks for the freebies I look forward to enjoying some new authors (to me).
51. Meri
I came late to the party. Thanks for making all the books available.
52. The Discriminating Fangirl
Thank you SO much for the e-books and the beautiful wallpapers! I think this will create a lot of interest in these writers.
53. Mike G.
Files slurped. The power of perl!! (and curl - I could use a perl module to slurp the html, but curl's easier)

This should all be one line - works fine on my Mac, and will probably work fine from any other Unix or Cygwin as well, as long as you have curl handy...

It only gets the 1280x1024 wallpapers, the pdfs, and the mobi files, because those are the ones I wanted. You can change all that by changing the "next unless" rules...

curl "" | perl -ne'while(m{href="(http://hbpub+/(+))"}g){my ($url, $file)=($1,$2); $file=~s/%20/ /g; next unless $file=~/1280-1024|\.prc|\.pdf/; print "Fetching $file\n"; system(qq{curl "$url" > "$file"}; print "File fetched, taking a nap...\n"; sleep(10);)}'
54. HanaGinkawa
Thank you. I've discovered some books to check out!
Christopher Hawley
55. chawley650
Mike G: Ta for the curl|perl demo! Silly me had thought curl was something to do with the Great White Northern we-think-it's-a-sport activity.

Blame Weird Al Yankovic. I do.
Christopher Hawley
56. chawley650
PS: needed to alter script slightly, moving right-paren after call to sleep to follow right-curly of qq:

system(qq{curl "$url" > "$file"})
; print "File fetched, taking a nap...\n";
Greg Dougherty
57. GregD
Looking forward to when you start selling us DRM free ebooks, and eARCs.

For example: If you offered By Heresies Distressed some time in the next few months as a DRM-free eARC for $15, you'd make a TON of money. Ask David how many Honor Harrington eARCs he sells.

Key points are no DRM (I've spent thousands of dollars on ebooks, but I've never bought a DRMed ebook, and I never will), and it has to cost less than I'd pay on Amazon for a dead trees version. Blowing either of those quickly sends you from an adoring customer base to a pissed off one.
Hannah X
58. h4nn4h
Hey everyone,

I'm new to this site and pretty new to SF in general - I've only read very big names like Isaac Asimov. I'd love to get into it more but I have no idea where to start.
This page seems awesome (wow, free books!!!) but there's much more here than I'll probably ever read on my computerscreen, so it'd be great if someone could give me a tip on which one(s) of these titles is a good starting point for an almost-newbie...
Andy Leighton
59. andyl
h4nn4h as you are a almost-newbie I would suggest that you also read some short stories. There are a couple here (at the moment) but the most comprehensive index is at which also includes some of the shorter fiction nominated for the major awards.

Of the novels listed above Spin is superb, it quite rightly won the Hugo the year it was published (beating Scalzi's Old Man's War amongst others), so I would suggest starting with that.
60. Jim Frost
I've been reading some of these as they have been posted and been very pleased with your offerings (a number of which were already favorites of mine previously). Very good choices in every case I've read so far. Unfortunately I was kind of shocked to find that sequels to many are not available for purchase in electronic format (ie Kindle).

In particular I was very much hoping to be able to buy The Well of Ascension, Queen of Candesce, and Axis but ... no go. At this point I'm buying electronic in favor of paper for anything that's textual, I have waaaaay too many paper books in my house and I read a lot on-the-go, and will simply not buy things that aren't available that way.

I really enjoyed the first book in each of these series. Please please can you start publishing the sequels in electronic formats?
61. The Magician
Patrick/Tor, thanks a million!

I've been moving house and missing out on some of the downloads, and now I'm living in rented accommodation with all my books still back at the old place, it's great to have some things to read (and the beginnings of series to draw me in and make me want to spend even more money on Tor books!)

Best wishes with the new site.
Chris/The Magician
Jill Boland
62. Merry
Thanks for posting all of these. I'd missed some of the wallpaper, so it's good to get the rest of them.


Merry =^..^=
Jeremy January
63. jhjanuary
Amazing selection of books online here. Thank you!
64. Mike G.
chawley650, thanks for fixing the location of the "sleep".

I added that as I was posting the script - I figured if a whole bunch of people started running this at once, the server would be much happier if the requests were spaced out a bit...
Maurizio Manzieri
65. MaurizioManzieri
Thanks for dropping your hungry followers the beautiful Three Shadows by the talented Cyril Pedrosa.

It was a nice discovery!

Maybe I'm sensitive to any topic or item concerning Art, but I enjoyed very much this story and style... and I'll be TOR-tuned to the release of similar products...

...I mean to buy them of course! :-)
66. DMcCunney
Note to Arachnejericho: Mobi format deals with images just fine, with one caveat: an embedded image in a Mobi file can't exceed 64K in size. A Mobi file is essentially an encapsulated HTML file.

The Mobi Creator package, released by Mobipocket as freeware, can use PDF files as an input format, so you could try grabbing the Three Shadows PDF and rolling your own. How well it works depends on the PDF. It does well on simple ones, but may have problems on PDF files with multiple columns and fancy formatting.

Worst case, Mobi Creator rips input files to HTML, and creates the Mobi file from that, so it's possible to edit the generated HTML before building the Mobi book.
67. DMcCunney
Another note to Arachnejericho: I just noticed that Tor provides an epub version of Three Shadows. That's another input format supported by Mobi Creator, and would be a better place to start on creating a Mobi file.
68. DMcCunney
@pnh: Thanks for the response. That's what I hoped you would say, but I wanted to make sure. I assumed Tor knew there was a market for ebooks, and people would pay you for them, else you wouldn't have made the Baen deal in the first place. Consider me breathless with anticipation.

As for the fannish commentary over the Baen deal, don't count me as one seeing deep hidden controversy and significance. I saw things as a delay, not a disaster, and I'm patient. As long as I can buy Tor content in electronic form, in a format I can conveniently read on whatever device I happen to have handy, and I don't have to deal with onerous DRM to do so, I'm happy, and where I actually get the content is a detail.
69. DMcCunney
@annansi: I read ebooks on a Palm OS device as well. In my case, it's a Tapwave Zodiac 2. Tapwave is out of business, and the device is an orphan, but I have three of them, so... It has a 320x480 screen, 128MB of RAM (RAM, not NVFS), and two SD slots, which makes life easier when you want to carry your entire digital library in your pocket. (3,500 ebooks and counting, here...)

By preference, I get HTML formatted content, and convert for Plucker, a free, open source offline HTML reader for Palm OS. Plucker handles color, text attributes, custom fonts (on OS 5 devices), embedded images, and hyperlinks. It also supports gzip compatible compression of Plucker documents using a Palm shared library port of Zlib.

I have the entire Baen Free Library and all of the Tor offerings thus far converted, and it works fine. Go to if interested. The Plucker viewer is in C++. The Plucker desktop, which actually does the conversion, is in Python, with versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS/X. (There is a third-party Plucker document viewer for Windows Mobile devices called Vade Mecum, and the FBReader program for Linux and others also views Plucker files.)

For cases where HTML source isn't available, Mobi is a good alternative.
70. Rocco
thanks loads TOR ... this is a true treasure trove!

don't know if this has been mentioned ... but the ZIP downloads could be smaller if the "thumbs.db" files were removed :)

thanks again!
71. soosie
Just so you know....your give-away worked. I have not used your site before, and now that I see the richness of your site, I will be back. Thanks so much....
72. tanguyr
Thanks Tor, this is a great way to discover a selection of fresh (well, to me) sf. Much appreciated.
Dawn Gray
73. Dawn9655
As a voracious reader, I thank you for (a) introducing me to e-books and (b) introducing me to authors I haven't read yet. This promo has been fantastic. So much so, that not even halfway through it, I found myself wandering around looking for (and purchasing) more e-books, just so I'd have something to read -- just in case all my bound books went up in flames.

Again, thank you for the freebies and for a look into something I had never considered before: the e-book.
James Edwards
74. spagthorpe
What you guys are doing is great. I hope in the future, we'll be able to purchase any of these authors works as ebooks as well. So many I'd like to read, but I just don't believe in buying dead tree books unless I have no choice. Until then, I'll buy what I can electronically. Great site so far.
75. the_wanlorn
Oh man. You guys are the best ever. :DDDDDDDDDDDD
Paul Howard
76. DrakBibliophile
Any word on when TOR Books (especially the new David Weber one) will show up with webscriptions?
77. Felix Torres
Just found out about the giveaway *and* the upcoming availability (one hopes) of more ebook editions of Tor content. Just a heads up that you're missing a major format; MSReader. Don't get too caught up with the Kindle/Sony Reader frenzy (both have serieous ergonomic design issues despite their gorgeous screens) and ignore one of the larger ebook-reading customer bases out here, okay? There are 20 million MS Reader smartphones out here, all of which can handle unencrypted LIT format, and over half (three-quarters?) are full PocketPC smartphones that can handle DRM'ed
LITs. And that doesn't even include the pure PDA devices. E-ink readers are great but a lot of us read ebooks on our cellphones and PDAs (4" VGA screens in full color are about as good as eink, y'know?), to say nothing of the people reading on tablets, desktops, laptops, and UMPC. Mobi format is pretty nice but there you are at the mercy of Amazon and their plans for the future of non-Kindle Mobi are obscure at best. Don't let Amazon pull an Apple on ebooks, okay, guys? Until a true open ebook format emerges, LIT is the main hardware-neutral ebook format out there. Don't ignore us, please? (And no, I have no relation with MS, business or otherwise. But I love ebooks, okay?) ;-)
78. radiofreej
I just have to say, thank you for all of this.
piaw na
79. piaw
I just converted Three Shadows into mobipocket for the Kindle and it looks great. If there's a place I can post files let me know and I'll upload it.
80. Jakem
As a long time Baen books affectionado I'm glad to see others starting to offer free and for sale ebooks. The freebies have introduced me to several more writers that are now on my 'look for' list when I'm in the book store. I probaly have 70 or so ebooks now that I've purchased and in most instances I've also purchased the printed version when it came out and reread it. Like a lot of SciFi characters I find reading from the screen is is not as satisfying as holding and reading the book itself. ihave, as of my last count, some 2500 plus books in my collection and running my hand along their backs looking for an old friend to jump out to be reread is so much more enjoyable than scanning down the on my monitor screen.

I also agree on more formats and recommend RTF. I have book marked your site and plan to return regularly.

Jake Moore
Austin Texas
82. Protagonist
I just want to thank you for not only the books, but also for the cover art. As one who grew up reading the old Astounding, Galaxy and other monthly SF pulps as well as watching the Saturday afternoon matinee chapter of Flash Gordon and such, it was a trip down memory lane.
83. Scott DeathBoy
thanks tonnes for all the downloadey goodness!

(PS: the 1600x1200 of Jon Foster’s painting Mobiebot seems to be a 404!)
Jim Nutt
84. jimnutt
I'll third (or fourth or fifth, whatever it is) the call for more ebook releases. I'm quite willing to pay for them (I've spent a fair amount of money at Baen in the last few years), but I won't buy them with DRM. I've only ever purchased two DRM'ed books and now I can't read them because I've changed devices a couple of times. I won't get bit by that one again.
85. Brother Phil
Thanks Guys!

Great books, great art...

Enjoy that karma when it comes back your way - you've earned it.
86. JeffP
can anyone tell me which of the offered formats will be best for using with the sony reader?
i know it doesnt do pdf well and dont think it does mobipocket and am not sure about html.

87. I liek
88. Michael Camiolo

BTW, I downloaded them all since I like the Sci-Fi Genre, but without a description I don't what any of them are about (other than the book titled 'Battlestar Galactica'; and 'Old Man’s War', which I've read and was really good).
Alison Scott
89. AlisonScott
I thought I'd already posted this, but I don't see it...

This is all very nice, thank you. As I have (as mentioned elsewhere) a lovely, lovely 24" iMac with 1920 x 1200 screen resolution, all your wallpapers seem a tad on the small side. Any chance of some big HD wallpaper?

Also, I'm another vote in the "I buy electronic content, but not with DRM" camp if anyone is counting. Actually it's not DRM per se that's the problem, it's closed non-transferable formats -- I'm perfectly content with Apple's iTunes Plus where my purchaser details are encoded in the files, for example.
90. flyt
Great site, great pix. I look forward to getting my teeth into books by new authors
91. Magicland
Hey guys, thanks! Most of my "old standard" authors have either dried up or died (and then dried up). Glad somebody out there realized that putting out free promotional copies usually results in higher sales of those authors other works. Now if we can get somebody in publishing to realize that an ebook shouldn't cost more than its paper predecessor (indeed, minus supplies, printing and physical delivery, it shouldn't cost HALF of a paper book), you can start making some REAL money. Heck, if I could pick up an ebook for $2-3 a copy I wouldn't even think about it (at $4-5 I'd have to think about it), I know I'd buy a heck of a lot more of them, and I bet you'd make just as much, if not more, money
92. Jeffrey A. Carver
As one of the authors whose book is up here for free, I just want to say how cool I think it is that Tor is doing this. I hope we see it again in the future. I've downloaded them all myself, and just put the Mobi reader on my creaky old PDA so I can read them. I wasn't even going to download the art, but then I took a closer look--and grabbed those, too. Great stuff. I love it.
93. Old_Guy
I generally read in MS Reader and have purchased several hundred from Baen. After trying some of these I definitely do not like the html format. I hope you have reader format offerings when your site is open for business.
Paul Howard
94. DrakBibliophile
Old Guy, the last I heard TOR will be selling ebooks via WebScriptions (Baen) so I'm sure you can get them in MS Reader format.

Although, I think MobiPocket is better.
95. InquiringMind
I've never read a book online and am looking forward to doing so. Which format in your experiences would be the best format for someone using a Windows PC?
96. Rory
Thank you!

ps. Great art work. Perhaps yall can come back online one day?
97. bgalbrecht
Thanks for all the books and wallpaper. I'd just like to add my vote for DRM free books available in multiple formats for one low price. I've bought a lot of Baen books, mostly webscriptions, and I'm another price-conscious ebook buyer. I will never buy an ebook at hardback prices since I'm one of those people who never buys hardbacks in the first place.

I'm not always sure I like the Baen one chapter per page HTML format, but if you don't do that, there really ought to a table of contents with a link to each chapter. For example, in the PDF of Mistborn, there are bookmarks for each section and chapter, but in the HTML version, there is nothing, not even a table of contents without links. Assuming the PDF pages matches the pbook pages, the PDF bookmarks are an nice add-on. As someone who doesn't read PDFs on my regular reader, it would be nice if it were present in the HTML edition as well. In Reiffen's Choice, there is a table of contents in the PDF, so there is a TOC with links in the HTML version. It would have been nice to have a link back to the TOC at the beginning of the chapter.

I'm hoping that you'll soon be bringing some of my favorite Tor books and authors to reasonably priced DRM-free ebooks soon. I can hardy wait!
98. Todd Loren Sinclair
Great tip ... appreciated

99. Victor Anni
Thanks I am going to enjoy reading all these!
100. EricTank
Just wanted to say THANKS for this promo - just found out about it, and will be downloading the lot tomorrow when I'm not at work.

A few me-too comments:

- I'm also one of those who regularly uses M$ Reader, and while it has it's quirks, I find it works pretty well on my Dell Axim x51v (PocketPC). All my stuff from Baen/Webscriptions is unencrypted .LIT, so if you decide to add that format, well, it'd be EVER-so-convenient. Although for this promo I'll be checking out Mobi, I guess...

- Ditto +infinity for the "NO DRM!" comments. DRM... well, to put it bluntly, DRM sucks. Double-plus-ungood. PLEASE stay DRM free!

- I saw a couple comments about David Weber's new series with you guys. I'm a moderately-huge fan of his work, and greatly enjoyed my dead-tree (hardcover) version of 'Off Armageddon Reef'. I'd *LOVE* to have it (and the newly-released 'By Schism Rent Asunder', and the forthcoming 'By Heresies Distressed', and... :) ) in e-book format, but I've been holding back since you're STILL charging as much for the e-book version of OAR as for the HARDCOVER version, when the PAPERBACK'S been out for several months now.

I realize you're a different company and all, but I ***HIGHLY*** recommend Baen's e-book model to you, where e-books cost $5-8 from Day One. I buy ebooks for portability, and STILL buy dead-tree models (typically hardcovers, even) of the good stuff - but charging hardcover prices for electronic formats loses you guys sales, IMO.

Thanks again for all the new reading material, folks!
101. Laurence Brothers
Great job making all this stuff available. 4 more wallpapers added to my rotation....

I don't know if this sort of thing will somehow increase revenue for Tor, but it's certainly a welcome gesture. I already think of Tor as the top SF publisher, so I don't think I'll buy any more than before, but it's always nice to see something of actual value being given away to past and prospective customers.
Stefan Hayden
102. STHayden
You have all the page numbers in the HTML code but have not created an index or even made it easy to use the page numbers.

I created a bookmarklet to add page number anchors so you can save your place.
103. RedZeppelin
Thanks for the great offers! What a fantastic way to show your support for the Kindle.
104. Anna Rotenberg
Can I have some more? Please?!?
105. Txcelt
Love the idea of making the e-books available. I use a PocketPC device, and all of my e-books are in .LIT (MS Reader) format. As much as I would rather have a better alternative, this works best for me. Any chance of making these available in .LIT format someday?
Chris Meadows
106. Robotech_Master
The free ebooks you've given are awesome.

I would like to suggest that, rather than end the promotion, you continue the free ebook giveaway perpetually, at least for first-in-series books, just as Baen has done for its Free Library. Baen has found that if "the first hit is free" it will continually hook new readers into the works, and it certainly doesn't seem to have harmed them any to have those free giveaways going on. You don't get that continuing promotional effect if you cut off the freebies.
107. Avi Flax
Thanks for the great books!

It'd be great if you guys would clarify the rules around redistributing these e-books. Are we allowed to share them with friends?
108. JeffP
Just FIY for the Sony folks.

Sony has just released the firmware update for the 505 to enable epub support, etc., etc., you can get it at their support site.
I just finished the upgrade but sadly have no epub docs to try out!!

Now if we could get Tor to offer the above in epub....

109. JeffP
the epub version of 'three shadows' imported and displays flawlessly on the sony reader.
supposedly there is better pdf support as well but not sure if it works w/any pdf file will try it out tomorrow..

110. JeffP
I apologize for all the posts but just to let the sony reader folks know, the pdf files display very well!
Sony changed the magnifications for pdf files from (in S,M,L order) from 100%, 120%, 150% to 100%, 200%, 300% which makes the files actually readable.

the bad news is:.....

no matter the name of the pdf file you import, the library software renames it to a long (13 digit) number :-(
and i am unable to figure out a way to rename it!
Gotta love Sony!!
Okay off to download the rest of the above pdf's (couldnt get the curl script to work..)

Burpy Turtle
111. BurpyTurtle
Thanks! These will keep me busy reading for the next 2 weeks.
112. JeffP
Last post.
the pdf title problem appears to be a Tor issue not a sony one.
apparently the title of a pdf is a metadata field in the pdf file itself and not related to the file name on disk.
the titles of these books are 13 digit codes and the sony reader uses the title not the disk file name. SIGH

well on the bright side this problem is limited (afaik) to tor!

113. Jcarol
Thank you for making these available!
114. runfromfire
Awesome. I needed something new and I hadn't heard of most of these. Thanks! I couldn't Twitter & the link fast enough.
115. Charles Pergiel
I did it. I downloaded them all without thinking. I even downloaded the two I already have.

Where can I find a chronosynclastic bolonium drive? I've been looking for one for months, every since the embargo on unobtainium from Arcturus was imposed by the Rathskellers of Mars.

I have not been reading books as much as usual, but I spend hours fooling with my comptuer, reading peoples blogs. I wonder if you could sell subscriptions to a blog, or an email newsletter, that would contain a one page of a book a day? Might suit our attention deficit culture.
116. Supernetuser
Free ebooks, thanks a million.
117. lutonramy
Thank you so much!
118. John Rohde
Thanks a lot. Heard about this thru John Scalzi's blog. How about keeping these free permantly like Baen does with many of its authors.
119. Tennwriter
I'm not sure I had known about this. Just got steered over here from Jerry Pournelle's site. Now I need to download Disunited States (just started the series with Gunpowder Empire), and Old Man's War.

I'd download Drake and Modestit for sure, but I've already read both. And I think Lindskold's and Bucknell's offerings as well.

Thanks for putting this out there on Mr. Gore's Invention.
120. Steve Hutchison
For me this is like a flashback to when I was a kid, going to the library or the bookmobile. All these really good new books, I want to check them all out!

Except it doesn't make me fall over from the weight of that many books.

I've found three authors I wouldn't have known and read two books that I wouldn't have bought at the store; one of them I will purchase the e-book rights for, the other I will delete, or hand off to someone else with a recommendation that if they like it they should buy it.

This is a REALLY powerful delivery method. Please hook up a REASONABLY priced payment method so I can recompense the writers and editors and publishers.
Arachne Jericho
121. arachnejericho
I did some extra research on the authors (I don't know most of them) and came up with 1 or 2 fun facts and links about each of them:

Fun Facts About the Authors, Part 1
Fun Facts About the Authors, Part 2
Fun Facts About the Authors, Part 3

- a, who researches stuff
122. Sam P
Sam Weber's wallpaper also had a 1600x1200 version (incorrectly labelled as 1680x1200 in filename).
123. TorFan
Jon Foster’s painting Mobiebot, from his book Revolution: The Art of Jon Foster

The 1600x1200 version is missing. :(
Andy Leighton
124. andyl
For JeffP and others who want to change the metadata. There are a number of free tools to let you change the metadata. See for a couple of approaches or google for more details.
125. David K Allen
thank you, Tor.
126. Wyldhare
I have been a customer of Tor books for years and this makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning! I can't wait to meet so many new authors and I am sure I will find new "family" in the literary world through this program. Thank you!
Erica Hoehn
127. caseopaya
Thanks for all of these :) I'm sure they will make for great reading. Are the free ebooks something that are likely to continue, because it a brilliant idea?
128. David Golden
Add another tick to the kudos column--thank you very much, and keep up the ebooks! All of my literary budget for the past few years has been spent on Baen's ebooks, as I have to squeeze my reading in wherever/whenever possible, and ebooks allow me to pack maximum reading into whatever space I have.

I would like to register my vote for HTML--I don't get anything else, as HTML is (IMHO) the most platform/display independent version. I read my Baen's on my Sharp Zaurus C860 (640x480 or 480x640--many a senior staff meeting has caught me up on my reading), my work desktop (1024x768--during slow times or lunch), my home machine (1280x1024--occasionally on evenings), and even my Blackberry (stopped at traffic lights). HTML resizes to whatever screen I've got--panning and zooming a PDF, for example, is unworkable, and loading Word or OpenOffice to read a book is overkill.

My one complaint--fix the margins! Don't waste browser space with such wide margins. I can resize my browser smaller if I don't want the text as wide; I can't make it bigger than the screen is if the text space is too narrow. 15em is ludicrous.

Also, I'd vote for one page per chapter instead of all on a single page--the Blackberry, especially, doesn't like big pages, and loading time suffers, too.
129. Tait
Thanks so much! I have several of these titles in hard cover; in particular, a searchable version of Android's Dream is welcomed.
130. Not My Real Name, DUH
OMG, where are the free books? PUT THEM BACK UP!!!

Just kidding. Anyways, cool offer, and I finished one ebook which was "Old Man's War." I got that on the Kindle from Amazon. It was a great read for the price (FREE)!
Paul Trebilcox-Ruiz
131. PaulTR
Anyone happen to toss these into a torrent yet so those of us who (sadly) missed the event can grab copies? Thanks :)
Randy Noak
132. WPRandy
Thanks for the free ebooks! I really, really enjoyed "Old Mans War". So much so that I bought the sequel, "The Ghost Brigade". I wanted to reward TOR for giving me the free book by giving them all the purchase price, but couldn't find the ebook on their site. I ended up buying from Amazon for my Kindle. I hope that the next two books in the series end up on the TOR site as ebooks.
Chris Meadows
133. Robotech_Master
@PaulTR: I expect someone will, sooner or later; that's how these things tend to work. I'm not sure that requesting it on these forums is the best idea, though; if Tor wanted the works to remain available for free, they wouldn't have taken them down.

I hope that Tor will itself return the freebies to the site eventually, after the manner of Baen's Free Library. That would be the best all around for everybody.
careY t.
135. carey.tse
@PaulTR: Don't despair! Haven't you noticed that we've been offering our short stories in downloadable formats as well?

One day, we shall be the McD's of science fiction and fantasy literature - fastbooks for people on the go!
136. RogerDoger
Thanks Tor, Love the books.

Unfortunately I just got to "Old Man's War" which I downloaded in PDF only to find that on opening the file I have another copy of "Mistborn". Is it just me or has anyone else had this happen?
137. Jammrock
DOH! I missed the MobiPocket version of Mistborn ... crap :(
Marcus Loydl
138. prefectionist
Can anybody tell me where I can buy the ebook version of John Scalzis other books?

Thank you!
Rob Wheatley
139. quickfics
Thank you to Tor and all the authors for the great (and gratis) reading. I would like to mention that the giveaways do work, as I have since purchased the sequels to Old Man's War. The other books from the promo are queued up, and I will get to them ASAP. I hope you continue throwing us the occasional bone (or carrot, as it were), and I toast you for not using aerosols, asbestos, dead chinchillas, or DRMs in your e-books. Salut!
140. kraker2
It really does work for the authors. I tried an author I had never heard of before--Jane Lindskold.
After reading "Through Wolf's Eyes", I immediately bought the other 5 in that series. I will also be buying a paperback copy of the one I downloaded so I will have the entire series in the same form.
Jan Vaněk jr.
141. JVjr
It seems that the links in countdown emails still work, and IIRC the addresses here were the same - which would mean only the pointers index is gone, not the files themselves. And when I registered a couple weeks too late, missing Farthing (about the only title that really interested me), and hacking the filename didn't quite work, it took just a few Google queries to find a handy list of links to all (so I suppose they're already long on torrents, IRC etc. as well).
Alex Chien
142. destro80
haha. darn. 3 days too late. looks like i'll have to head over to teh bookstore.

very, very cool of Tor and the authors to do this though, hope i'm in time for the next go around.
143. charlener
Seconding many previous comments - having e-formats eased me into reading these books on my tablet and still enjoyed em immensely. As I'm in a developing country (woo peace corps) it's virtually impossible for me to be able to afford/receive physical sequel books even though I'm now immersed in half-a-dozen new worlds. Just when I thought I'd read everything I'd be interested in...

So when do the ebooks of sequels come out?
*nougat *
145. nougat
I have a Kindle and I love it. I appreciated the downloads very much.
146. jja
How did I miss these! All I wanted was the mobi version of mistborn! Could someone who's allowed to send me a copy? I already have the PDF one that was in the original email, but somehow I missed that the site was launched to grab the mobi version :(
147. Abel kofi amossouvi
i want u to offer me free books
Taylor 514ce
148. Taylor514ce
First, it was Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Free e-book download. Great book, I want more from this author! Sorry, Tor doesn't publish e-books. I'm screwed out of the rest of the series.

This time it was Orphans of Chaos, by John C. Wright. Free e-book. I failed to note the page numbers progressing ever closer to the end, asynchronously to the plot. So yep, the book ended before the story did. Hey, get the next in the series, right? Sorry, Tor doesn't publish e-books. I'm screwed out of the rest of the series.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

There will not be a third time. I'm deleting all the "free" e-books from Tor. Their neat little promotion trick, at least in this case, has backfired. I will not be doing any business with Tor. You are promoting a product you do not in fact provide.
Torie Atkinson
149. Torie
@ 148 Taylor514ce

I am surprised you haven't heard, but Tor has a much-publicized deal with Baen to sell some titles through Baen's webscription service. We are also working to get other titles available in eBook formats.

You are promoting a product you do not in fact provide.

The eBooks were not a promotion to sell eBooks. They were a promotion for the launch of, a product we most certainly have provided.
Taylor 514ce
150. Taylor514ce
Thanks for the response. My reaction to the "we weren't promoting e-books", as well as other responses/reactions, found here:
some guy
151. NateTheGreat
@148 Torie
They were a promotion for the launch of, a product we most certainly have provided.

One basic rule of promotion is you release samples of the item you are promoting.

If you want to promote a movie, you release clips.

If you want to promote a book, you release excerpts.

In promoting this site, you released ebooks. One could assume from the ebook release that you would have ebooks on this site. Where are they, please?
Abigail Sutherland
152. evilrooster
Nate @151

One basic rule of promotion is you release samples of the item you are promoting.

Sorry, but that's just nonsense. I have countless freebie T-shirts, stress balls, keychains, mouse mats, pens and toys of indeterminate classification. I got them from people who were promoting software, financial products, and services of many varieties; none of them were from manufacturers of said items.

eBooks were swag. Read 'em or delete 'em, but their release constituted no promise or obligation on Tor's part.

Sheesh. Entitlement much?
some guy
153. NateTheGreat
@152 evilrooster

If ebooks were handed out by anyone other than a publisher, it would be swag, yes. But when coming from TOR it is not swag but samples of future product.
Abigail Sutherland
154. evilrooster
Nate @153

when coming from TOR it is not swag but samples of future product.

That's not what the Tor people say, and who should know better than they?

Torie said they were a promotion for the launch of Which is not an eBook, nor a marketing site, but a blog. Furthermore, it's a blog where more than books are discussed, and of the books, more than Tor's own output.

Why not hang around and discuss science fiction, or fandom, or any related topic instead of griping because you misunderstood something? It would be more fun for all concerned.
some guy
155. NateTheGreat
That may be what they said, but it's not what they did. TOR released ebooks. I want to buy more of what they released.

As for why I continue to harp on this matter: I like to read. My preferred format is ebook. There are many many title that I would buy from TOR if they were available.

TOR led me to think that they would be getting into ebooks. Many of the free ebooks were the first in a series. After I read the free ebook, I went to buy the next in the series. So far none are available as ebooks.

I am sufficiently annoyed by this that I came here to tell TOR.
Torie Atkinson
156. Torie
@ 155 NateTheGreat

Your assertion that Tor "led me to think they would be getting into ebooks" is just not true. I refer you to the text of the e-mails sent out to you on a weekly basis prior to the launch of


A science fiction and fantasy site not quite like any you’ve seen before, mixing news, commentary, original stories and art, your own comments and conversations, and more. A place on the net you may find yourself wanting to visit—and participate in—every day. Stay tuned to

I really don't see how it could be more clear than that. It was a promotion for, with no mention or implication whatsoever about selling ebooks. If you were misled, it was not by Tor.

Regarding ebooks--we want them, too. We are waiting for some technical issues to be resolved by Baen before we release several titles through the webscription service, and there are already dozens of titles available through the Kindle store. But that's just the beginning: you will hopefully see a slew of books available in the near future. Watch the skies!
157. Heike
I'm agreeing with NateTheGreat. I was extraordinarily disappointed in the fact that no ebooks were offered for sale and I wish that the landing page would have been clear on that (instead of the mysterious 'stay tuned for a new site') It could have prevented a lot of discontent. I don't think it's fair to criticize NateTheGreat for realistic expectations and being disappointed they weren't fulfilled.

They were promotional material, although I don't think I'd call them swag by any normal definition of the word. I think they were good at promoting but bad at clearly indicating what was being promoted.
Chris Meadows
158. Robotech_Master
It should also be noted that a great deal of the success of Baen's Webscriptions was fueled by the fact that they gave away the first few books from various authors' series for free, while providing the opportunity via Webscriptions to buy more of those authors' books at economical prices.

It's certainly understandable that people who don't read too closely would expect Tor to be doing the same thing. Even the people who did read the announcements would be more likely than not to assume that Tor would be selling ebooks and was just not mentioning it, since it was never explicitly stated anywhere that Tor would NOT be selling ebooks on launch—especially given that Tor's previous ebook foray was with Baen so there is more than a little association there.

I fear that the longer you go without getting those ebook sales available, the more sales you will lose—not everyone is virtuous enough to forego obtaining the books they really really want in the format convenient to them simply because they are not commercially available. Not in this world of bandsaws, sheet-feeding scanners, and pretty good OCR.

(And God help you if, when they do come out, you price them at hardcover prices after Baen's gotten people used to paying something closer to $5 per book.)
some guy
159. NateTheGreat
@156 Torie

You did not release blog postings, editorials, book reviews. The freebies you provided to promote this site were ebooks. I would like to buy more of what you provided. Where can I buy the ebooks, please?
160. Heike
Torie, I don't understand how you can decide what somebody else thinks.

I'd also like to point out that there's no way what you quoted could be any more VAGUE than it was. The "and more" alone part would be good justification that a site marketed by sending out ebooks might have something to do with ebooks.

I will say, however, that some of the hostility here is making me very uncomfortable.

I'm glad that Tor will be getting properly into ebooks in the future, however.
Taylor 514ce
161. Taylor514ce


A science fiction and fantasy site not quite like any you’ve seen before, mixing news, commentary, original stories and art, your own comments and conversations, and more. A place on the net you may find yourself wanting to visit—and participate in—every day. Stay tuned to

...and here's a free e-book. First in a series. Tease, tease..."

When a book publisher promotes their own site by offering books in a certain format, with an ambiguous statement like above, that publisher should not be surprised that many people expected the publisher's site to have books in that format. When you offer the first of a series, the implication is that the site will have the rest of the series.

Well, that's not what you intended. Ok. Whoops, misunderstanding, move on. In large part, I have. I understand what is about, and enjoy it despite the glaring absence of actual books.

It's easy to trivialize what someone else is saying by categorizing it as "whining". I can see from the responses here that TOR itself doesn't in fact feel that way, and is taking steps to offer e-books, via Baen. I will watch Baen and Tor closely!

However, what rankles is your continued assertion that we should not have expected to have anything to do with e-books, and that your "deal" with Baen is "well-publicized".

Many, many people had the same reasonable expectation, and are unaware of any deal in the works.

I would politely request the following:

1. Keep the "e-book community" posted on the status of the deal with Baen. I suggest someone from TOR join and start a thread there on the topic.

2. Complete the series you started in your promotion. You created many new fans for those authors, and they are frustrated at the lack of availability. Dispel that negative aura.

3. Drop the "why in the world did you expect e-books from us?" attitude. It was a reasonable expectation and that attitude is a bit demeaning. A more appropriate response would be to apologize for the misunderstanding.

Thank you for engaging in the conversation.
Torie Atkinson
162. Torie
@ 161 Taylor514ce

Your insistence on repeating a question that has been asked and answered twice is both hostile and futile. I have offered all the information that I have on this subject: Tor Books wants ebooks, and we are working on it. The ebooks you received were a promotional item for the launch of They were not intended to tease or frustrate anyone, but to get people excited about the website and be a nice gift to those who followed us up to the site launch. There's no need to get angry or bitter over some fun freebies--if you don't like them, delete them.

I also should clarify that this is not the website of the publisher Tor Books. is a science fiction and fantasy weblog. The Tor Books website can be found linked from the top of every page on this site. has nothing whatsoever to do with the Tor Books e-rights endeavors, so venting your frustrations here isn't going to get you very far--we simply don't have any control over it.
163. Heike

I think that it's the way that it was answered that's causing the problems. I feel like you keep saying "you're an idiot for having thought that" - that's not directly what you're saying, but it's the impression you're certainly leaving with me.

And please understand that to the regular outsider, your distinction between and tor books as a publisher is - well, it's completely confusing, to be honest.
Taylor 514ce
164. Taylor514ce
I've carefully re-read my previous post, and don't see a question there. Nor was there any hostility. In fact I made a conscious effort to be polite and offer some suggestions on how you could best respond to queries about e-books. If you choose to read that as hostile and futile, then I agree that no further dialog on the subject would be meaningful. provided e-books, so it's the natural spot to ask TOR about e-books, which you categorize as hostile. And futile. You don't want to talk about e-books here and are not open to criticism or suggestions. You choose to see me as a hostile site troll rather than as a fan and potential customer. Noted.

So, to whom should I speak? Emails to Macmillan go unanswered, and in fact the Contact Us link is broken. I would like to extend my first two suggestions to someone willing to entertain them. Since you view the suggestions as antagonistic, that person obviously isn't you. I'd appreciate some contact information, if you have it.

Thank you.

EDIT: The "If you don't like them, delete them" response completely misses the point. I did like them... that's kind of the issue, isn't it? That people liked the books, and that no provision has been made for catering to that favorable response.
some guy
165. NateTheGreat
@162 Torie

I also should clarify that this is not the website of the publisher Tor Books. is a science fiction and fantasy weblog.

In case you haven't noticed, this is the comment section of a blog post by TOR's editor in chief. Since Tor also controls this site, it pretty much makes this a TOR website.

If TOR doesn't want to have people come here and publicly complain about the lack of ebooks, then TOR needs to shut down this site. Beating up the people who complain is not the way to handle the situation.
Chris Meadows
166. Robotech_Master
I have been in customer service for several years. Torie's posts are making me cringe.

Here we have enthusiastic, loyal, vocal customers who would like to be able to purchase product from Tor. These are the kind of customers that any business would go to great lengths to have—people who care enough to go to the trouble of searching out the site associated with the publisher, and spend the time writing down their thoughts, rather than just passively consuming and not letting that publisher know what they think.

This kind of customer is important because that level of enthusiasm is contagious. These customers are most likely to be trendsetters, influential on a lot of other people, through journals, blogs, websites, mailing lists, social networking sites, and so on. If they say "X company is awesome," it will influence members of their circles of friends toward that company (and members of their circles of friends, as people love to spread gossip). If they say "Y company doesn't give a damn about its customers," that will have the opposite effect.

So here we have one such customer pointing out, in what appear to me to be politely measured tones, that's promotion was vague enough to give a number of people a false impression. (Which it indeed was.) He does not seem "hostile" at all to me; he states that he enjoys the site. He then makes suggestions as to how Tor might continue to benefit from the promotion.

And yet, Torie seems to get surlier by the post. No matter the provocation, "If you don't like them, delete them" is hardly what customers (either the ones taking part in the discussion, or the ones who will find it in Google from this point onward) would hope to hear from a company that supposedly values their patronage.

(Furthermore, insisting that a website named "," with an "About Us" page full of head honchos of Tor and MacMillan, "has nothing whatsoever to do with the Tor Books e-rights endeavors" is disingenuous at best. It certainly has to do with being able to have customers' feedback seen by those head honchos who do have something to do with e-rights endeavors, and all other aspects of running Tor! But this is strictly a side issue to the main topic under discussion.)

I know from experience that the customer is not always right. Nonetheless, I would suggest that a more conciliatory tone, either from Torie or from some other Tor representative with more customer service experience, might be better placed in this discussion. You catch more flies with honey, and a gentle word turneth away wrath.
Abigail Sutherland
167. evilrooster
Dry, pedantic note: it looks like Torie got a wire crossed. The person repeating the question that has been answered is Nate:

In promoting this site, you released ebooks. One could assume from the ebook release that you would have ebooks on this site. Where are they, please?

The freebies you provided to promote this site were ebooks. I would like to buy more of what you provided. Where can I buy the ebooks, please?

Personally, I am looking forward to seeing electronic versions of Tor books available. It's a shame that the wheels of legal negotiation grind slow.
Chris Meadows
168. Robotech_Master
@167: The speculation over on the Baen Bar is that it's not legal negotiation that's the issue, it's that the Baen Webscription servers need an upgrade to be able to handle all the additional traffic Tor will bring.
Abigail Sutherland
169. evilrooster
Robotech_Master @168:

Server upgrades? Oh, dear.

I work in IT; that speculation makes me wish for lawyers.
Torie Atkinson
170. Torie
@ 167 evilrooster

Oh shoot, you are absolutely right. My mistake--that comment was not meant for you, Taylor514ce, and I apologize.
Arachne Jericho
171. arachnejericho
@Robotech_Master, evilrooster

If true, that's an interesting thing. Tor would bring quite a bit of traffic over.

And if true, I hope they've thought of stuff like Amazon AWS for storage of files and whatnot. I know a site that gradually got a ton of traffic, and this measure helped save the image servers from keeling over.

That would probably involve additional software changes though. I don't know how much Webscriptions is interested in that.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
172. pnh
Okay, look, some clarifications.

First, the relationship of to Tor Books/Tom Doherty Associates is admittedly a little complicated. isn't a promotional organ of Tor; it's a Tor/Macmillan venture into the exciting world of Web 2.0. Among its staff are a bunch of people who also work for Tor-the-publisher, and we use the Tor brand with Tom Doherty's blessing.

On the other hand, it's hard to fault anyone for thinking that is a reasonable place to voice discontent with stuff Tor Books is doing. Or with stuff Tor Books isn't doing. Indeed, it's very interesting to me (and to other people at Tor and Macmillan) that some SF readers are so intense in their keen desire for DIGITAL EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY RIGHT NOW EVERYWHERE KTHXBAI.

On the other other hand, once the person you're addressing has said, in effect, "This is the sum total of what I can tell you about, and beyond that, all I can say is that Other Stuff Is Coming," further exercises in berating them are not really likely to bear fruit. Some of you have been reasonable. And some of you have been a bit over the top, all things considered. Perhaps we could all take a deep breath and try again.

One thing it's useful to remember is that in many cases, neither Torie nor I nor Tom Doherty nor anyone else is going to answer point-blank questions about when this or that digital product is going to available in this or that form because, dude, it's a secret. This is, you know, a business. Sometimes we announce stuff way in advance. And sometimes we make deals in confidence and then spring them on the world, the better to throw other businesses (and not just our obvious "competitors") off balance. I guarantee you that if you email Apple Computer and demand to know everything they'll be introducing over the next year, they probably won't answer you. I'm pretty sure the same can be said about the digital-publishing plans of our colleagues at Del Rey, or Orbit, or HarperCollins Eos. Tor has tons of employees who are socially active in SF fandom and the SF subculture, so hundreds and probably thousands of people wind up hearing Tor gossip and feeling a vague sense of entitlement when it comes to what happens at Tor. That feeling of entitlement does not, however, translate into an actual obligation on our part, any more than anyone is obliged to keep buying our books just because they did so in the past.

To reiterate:

Aargh! I downloaded all these e-books and I thought would be set up to sell me more e-books!

Sorry about that! I see you're really, really into e-books. As it happens, we understand that Tor hopes to be able to offer you a lot more e-books in the fairly near future.

You don't understand! Everything about the advance promotion signalled that e-books would be the heart and soul of! I'm deleting all those free e-books you gave me!

Okay, guy, whatever. Seems a bit extreme, though. Are you sure you wouldn't just rather wait and see what becomes available?

Long, condescending lecture about customer service

Yes, yes. No doubt you have never been flapped by anything anyone ever said to you in your life. A great honor, sir.

Torie is doing a good job. She showed a little bemused annoyance with a couple of the earlier posts in this exchange--for instance, the supremely silly one from the person who announced themselves to have been "screwed" by our dastardly giveaway of free ice cream. Then the discussion got confused, feelings bristled, and the complex relationship between Tor and made matters worse. Recommendation: Everyone, take a pill.

The real fact is that nobody is obliged to do business with anybody. You want lots of ebooks? Great! You want to be confrontational about it? Boring! We can all do better than that.
Taylor 514ce
173. Taylor514ce
Deleted - posted at the same time as PNH, so my post now irrelevant.

EDIT again: If you'll carefully re-read my "supremely silly" post, the giveaway wasn't the problem. The giveaway of "book 1 of X" in a series, with no way of getting or even learning anything about the future availability of book 2 and 3, is the problem. This is hardly "free ice cream".

I don't find that "supremely silly". Do you, really?

Nor did I find the lecture regarding customer service to be condescending. Torie isn't doing a great job. She's lashing out at your customers.

I'm glad you stepped into the thread. Thanks. I would have been happier if you had addressed the issues instead of waving them off dismissively. So we're all to assume that nothing more will be forthcoming regarding the deal with Baen? Because it's a business secret. None of my business. Got it.
Chris Meadows
174. Robotech_Master
@172: Although it didn't seem that way to me when I was writing it, in retrospect I admit I could have come off as condescending. Sometimes I get so in love with the sound of my own words I do not always stop to consider the overall effect of them all put together. I am sorry.

Likewise, I do not mean for the following to be condescending, though I suppose it may be taken that way. The spirit in which I mean this is not to sneer, but to offer advice for improvement. I want Tor's ebook and blog ventures to succeed, and I don't want its own representatives to drive away potential customers.

Yes, I have been "flapped" many times by customers. And I do not deny that the whole "you suck, I'm deleting all your free ebooks because you bait-and-switched me" post was rather silly, and I might even go so far as to call it a dire provocation.

But in my job, I had to get an iron-clad self-censor in place early, because if I took the tone with problem customers that I saw in some of Torie's posts and my supervisor happened to monitor me on the phone, I would have been out on my ear for unprofessionalism. (Instead, I was awarded a plaque for top rep in my entire call center for part of the period in which I worked there.)

What I would have said in this situation would be something like
"I am sorry that the wording of our promotional emails led to a misunderstanding. We want to sell you those ebooks just as much as you want to buy them, and we are going to have them available just as soon as a technical issue with Baen is sorted out. We will keep you posted as soon as we are able to say more."
Repeated and rephrased as necessary.

Or even the post that you stepped in and made just now would, if made this morning, have headed off a lot of bluster.

But what we got was @156,
"I really don't see how it could be more clear than that. It was a promotion for, with no mention or implication whatsoever about selling ebooks. If you were misled, it was not by Tor."
There's quite a significant difference in tone.
some guy
175. NateTheGreat
@172 pdn
Indeed, it's very interesting to me (and to other people at Tor and Macmillan) that some SF readers are so intense in their keen desire for DIGITAL EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY RIGHT NOW EVERYWHERE KTHXBAI.

No one here has said that. We only asked to be allowed to give you our money. The fact that you see us this way is worrisome.

I do not think you realize what you have gotten yourself into by starting this site (the corporate you). In calling this site, you have made it the place where the public will come to ask you questions about the books you sell. You personally may not like it, but that's too bad. It's going to happen anyway.

And when they do come, you cannot belittle them in the manner of Torie, nor can you be condescending. If you do, please remember you have done so in a public place. It will backfire.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
176. pnh
#173, Taylor514ce: "I don't find that 'supremely silly.' Do you, really?"

Yes, Taylor514ce, I do.

Specifically, just to be clear: I think proclaiming yourself to have been "screwed" because we gave away some e-books...was silly. Indeed, when you first put up that post, I laughed out loud at it. Then I read it to some other people, who laughed at it too. How we laughed!

No doubt you are entirely sincere in feeling wronged by having been given an ebook. Hmm, checking...dum de dum...yep, this is still very silly of you.

What I want to make clear is that I'm not waving "the issues" off dismissively, I'm waving you off dismissively. Because life is too short to have earnest dialogues with people who think it's appropriate to begin a discussion with all guns blazing ("I will not be doing any business with Tor. You are promoting a product you do not in fact provide"). Torie let herself get flapped by some remarkably gratuitous hostility in this thread. Her worst mistake was to extend you as much politeness as she did.

#174, Robotech_Master: As it happens, it's not Torie's job to be a customer-service rep. Torie's job is (among other things) to make sure the conversations around here stay reasonably civil and coherent. If people have complaints about Tor, that's interesting, and I'm generally happy to engage when I have the time. But nobody has a license to be a jerk just because they're a customer. Nobody has been tossed off this board yet, but the day will inevitably come when someone is. They will probably complain long and loud that they're a Tor Books customer and this is dreadful a miscarriage of justice oh woe the moon will fall to earth the stars will go out. Oh well.

#175, NateTheGreat: If you think my humorous characterization of the keen eagerness of some readers for e-books was an offense that needed to be argued with and corrected, I do not foresee that our interactions will be fruitful.

To repeat, I'm generally delighted to talk about Tor stuff, Tor plans, Tor policies, and problems with Tor. If I were any more habitually transparent about this stuff, you'd be able to read Tor's future by holding me up to a strong light. Try pulling some of the crap in this thread on some other publishing executives and see where it gets you. But that doesn't mean I, Torie, or anyone else on is going to put up with people who start out with bluster and confrontation. Nobody's job description around here reads "put up with being abused."
Arachne Jericho
177. arachnejericho
From some other random person....

I am strongly interested in new Tor books being available in digital formats, and have pretty much stopped buying non-graphic-novel books that I can't get hold of the Kindle edition (or some Mobipocket edition, or some other format I can turn into Mobipocket for my private or public use or whatever). Even if I really want to know what happens next.

I do get really frustrated. Believe me.

But for all that, I know that these things are still difficult to arrange. Digital publishing is still new (yes, a few years old, that's still new), and it's only been recently that the market has definite positive signs of going up, at least to upper management (e.g., folks higher than anybody directly administering this site).

Yelling, while sometimes cathartic, is not going to accomplish anything. I know, I know, yelling at customer service is practically a god-given right, but it's inconsiderate. If people do care so much and don't want to come across as the fellows who scream at the CS reps on the phone, why not contact pnh and other editors directly and ask? The ones I have asked (which includes Ginjer Buchanan at Ace/Roc, and our own PNH for Tor) have been forthcoming about what information they can release. (I haven't yet blogged about it because I'm still getting data.)

As much as it seems that business secrets are so lame, hello, they are actually important. Timing can be essential, and there are always other factors behind the scenes which may or may not be sensible to be concerned about, but we don't know that as outsiders. And NDAs keep you from legally releasing such secrets anyways. The folks at have already told you what they can legally tell you.

I'm probably going to write on my blog at some point about why it is the case that people are so hot about eBooks once they have an ebook reader they really like. Rather than throwing out accusations against people who are doing what they can, I want to write something that is coherent and reasoned and, if it's good enough, actually be handed upwards. That's just me though.

For now, though, it's enough to know---and to have known for a while, and I'm really not good at this reading stuff well thing---that Tor does want eBooks, that there are difficulties which are getting cleared, and that it will happen because it's a new market and it's gaining steam, and that in the end, things will work out. This is not the same environment as it was when the first attempt was reined in.

Anyways, there's lots of Tor in the Kindle store. Which I know pisses off people who don't have a Kindle. But... I'm happy. Enough to write a series about watching the skies on my blog---and no, not all the eBooks here are from Tor, but a good portion are.

Other note to above... I'm just an outsider but... the unhappier folks really do give the impression that pnh mentions above. It's certainly not a verbatim quote, but some have posted on only to scream about this issue. Says something about passion... but also comes across as screaming at the customer rep for something they can't help.

Saying "but you guys aren't being nice enough to us" does not get away from the impression that people (on both sides, not just Tor) are acting as though their frustration is getting in the way of their interpretations of what's going on. And I'm putting that really nicely.

Saying "we're only asking to give you our money" doesn't get away from the rudeness.

And, "Moderator..."... you are "NateTheGreat". That's not a good intimidation trick by any means.

ETA: And I didn't mean to imply that anyone on is customer service....
Taylor 514ce
178. Taylor514ce
I shouldn't keep rising to the bait. It's a character flaw. You continue to mis-characterize the specific issue. It isn't that you gave away e-books. For the record, I think that was very generous. I understand that it would indeed be silly of me to complain that I didn't like a free sample.

That's not what caused my frustration. Many of the books you gave away were parts of series. Some of them ended more or less abruptly. This didn't create an eagerness to join a Web 2.0 site. It created an eagerness for the NEXT BOOK. You didn't anticipate that would happen? How supremely silly of you.

Hey, I'll be the first to admit that I can be silly, even ridiculous, especially when I post out of frustration. I cringe at some of the stuff I've written around the web. So, if you want to set me up as the straw man for every unreasonable, demanding fan and e-book fanatic, well, go ahead. I don't mind. Laugh away. It's healthy.

But you could at least acknowledge (and criticize, if it deserves it) the actual issue, instead of laughing away your own misinterpretation of it.
Arachne Jericho
179. arachnejericho
Can I just point out the crazy idea that these series are in print as paper? I mean, they're available. Just not as eBooks. (ETA: in many cases, but not all.)

There is a definite history of "free eBook" as a quick taste, and then people buy the paper book. It does not really surprise me.

So the fury doesn't make as much sense to me. And, yes, I really want eBooks too. We who reeaaaally embrace this eBook thing do not have the same perspective as most of the audience, e.g., "ah well, I'll get the paper edition." It's a choice we made. Convenience is not yet there, convenience is desired to be there on both sides, convenience takes a while to come along.
Pablo Defendini
180. pablodefendini
@178 Taylor514ce—
That's not what caused my frustration. Many of the books you gave away were parts of series. Some of them ended more or less abruptly. This didn't create an eagerness to join a Web 2.0 site. It created an eagerness for the NEXT BOOK. You didn't anticipate that would happen? How supremely silly of you.

To address your actual concern, then:

By the same logic, any author or publisher that posts or otherwise publishes first chapters, or sample chapters, of their novels is causing you great frustration? Or even worse yet, if an author has the gall to take their sweet, sweet time between installments in a series, you go into a berserker rage?

Hm. Sorry, man. I feel ya, but that just won't fly. It's a common strategy amongst both marketers and drug dealers: 'the first hit is free'. You'll get a taste, but when you come back for more, you're expected to pay (I'm not saying that it's how I'd do it, but it's the way it's done, regardless). Granted, in this particular case, the next hit isn't in your preferred format yet (ebooks), so you'd have to go out and get your fix the old-fashioned way if you absolutely have to have it right now. As a consumer of ebooks, I sympathize, but not enough to give you the point. You can always go out and get the dead tree edition if you're really jonesing that bad.


I think PNH and others have made it plain that this is a temporary situation, and that an expanded list of ebooks is in the cards. If you're hell bent on not buying dead trees (nothing wrong with that), then wait. I see no difference between waiting for an e-edition to come out and, say, waiting for a paperback edition to come out after a hardcover has been published. People do it all the time.

The upside of this is that, unlike the drugs, when the time comes to read that second installment of the Old Man's War series in your ebook format of choice, you'll still have the first one, kicking around for you to enjoy again, if you so desire. See? Books are better than drugs, kids.
Taylor 514ce
182. Taylor514ce
Fury? Berserker Rage? Hell-bent? We've gone from laughing away issues I didn't raise to railing against emotions I didn't feel. I mean, feel free to talk among yourselves and your cartoon characterizations of me... I'll however, take the hint, shut up now, and watch for TOR e-books rather than After all, I have been dismissed!
Arachne Jericho
183. arachnejericho
Sorry, Taylor, you just came across that way to me (and I don't work for Tor, so dunno how I personally "dismiss" you).

The flounce doesn't help your impression.
184. Heike
Well chalk me up as somebody who isn't at all furious, but is very sad and definitely felt misled by the promotion. Which I've gotten over for the most part, or thought I had until I started writing this reply. (Which got much longer than I expected but I can't figure out anything to trim - obviously I'm not an editor!)

But yes, this is where I am torn. I think part of the situation is that those of us that love ebooks feel unheard. Emails to publishers go unanswered, authors have no ability to change the situation - and yet, the general consensus we've heard from the publishing industry as a whole is "people don't really want ebooks, they're a fad" - and even though we know that perception is changing slowly, it feels like an uphill battle.

For every article talking about the Kindle or the Sony or any other ereader device, there's always an obligatory paragraph or two or the sum of the article that says "but it doesn't feel like paper!" or "but who really wants to read on a 300 dollar device?" or some other marginalizing disclaimer.

So it feels sometimes like we have to shout really, really loudly to get anybody to actually believe that we mean what we say - that we want ebooks.

I know that Tor is in the process of fixing their own perception. It just feels, from an outsider's perspective, that it's glacially slow. Of course that's because they're a business and there are parent companies and legalities and other issues involved.

I sympathize with Taylor's issue there was no way to buy the sequels immediately - or still isn't. It was similar to Baen's free library but without the payoff for the reader. I really liked a couple of the books I read. It's really, REALLY frustrating to me, personally, when the answer to that is "well, go buy the sequel in paper." It's an answer that dismisses the actual question that I'm asking as irrelevant.

I know that it's not Tor's responsibility to design the world to my liking. I know that they also have a business model and reasons why things can't be revealed. They're catching a lot of heat that's aimed partially at the publishing industry as a whole and partially at the way the promotional campaign was handled - and it wasn't handled very well in many respects.

The reason I post is that I really hope somebody is listening, but it doesn't feel like anybody is. As much as I respect pnh's willingess to engage, the fact that his initial response to Taylor514ce was to laugh and then read it aloud to others to mock reinforces that feeling. Because yes, maybe that post was a little histronic. But it was also sincerely frustrated.

And it's a feeling that I share - I was excited about the original promotion, excited about some of the authors I got to try. But I ended up not starting most of them in the end, because I don't want to read them and get hooked if there's not a way to purchase the sequels.
Pablo Defendini
185. pablodefendini
#182 Taylor514ce: My intention was to 'at least acknowledge (and criticize, if it deserves it) the actual issue', in your words. If I threw a little bit of hyperbole in there, so be it. I did what you asked, because I thought you had a legitimate point worth addressing.

In the future, when asking for feedback or criticism, might I respectfully suggest wearing a thicker skin....
Arachne Jericho
186. arachnejericho
Heike @184 -

Most recent Kindle articles I've read have been ecstatic about the device. Yes, there's a paragraph about how it's not like a real book but these days it usually ends with and "I don't care because the Kindle is awesome."

Basically, I've been watching the backlists build up in the Kindle store (it doesn't always go by publication date of the Kindle edition, but an older publication date), I've gotten to get my hands on eBooks released simultaneously with the hardcover, so I know that things are moving along. And that there's still a ways to go, but the will is definitely there.

I'm not worried. Annoyed sometimes, but not worried.
Pablo Defendini
187. pablodefendini
#184 Heike You know, as an ebook reader, and as an often-times way-too-vocal proponent of all things paperless, I feel your frustration. Without wanting to particularly speak for anyone else, I'll venture to say that I'm pretty sure that many people here at Tor feel the same way.

On the flipside, it's also partly what you're saying: adjusting course on a big ol' ship takes a bit of time. In this day and age, when instant gratification seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, that can be a tough pill to swallow. It's the reality, regardless.

In the meantime, fear not, have patience, and try not to scream at us. We are listening....
Abigail Sutherland
188. evilrooster
Heike @184:

One problem is that there are several people on this thread sharing your perspective, but using radically different ways of expressing it.

One of the things PNH was doing was pointing out that some of the things that other people were saying were over the line, not because they wanted eBooks, but because they were being condescending, rude or unpleasant about expressing those desires.

I sincerely doubt that he laughed at you. And he clearly is listening to the desires you express, if Tor are working out the wrinkles of distributing things on Baen.
Taylor 514ce
189. Taylor514ce
Heh, it isn't a "flounce" or thinskinnededness (just made that up). It's just that I've heard the answer to my basic question. To paraphrase, "stop bugging us" and "no news is good news". Further discussion won't reveal anything new here, will it? We've been told it won't. The management feels it's the wrong place to hold the conversation anyway. Join the conversation, just not THIS ONE AGAIN.

Gosh, re-reading that it sure sounds like a sulk. You're right... flounce comes across better than sulk. More active. So yeah... change of attitude: Flounce, Flounce, and Away!
Chris Meadows
190. Robotech_Master
I really want Tor's ebook program to succeed. Every time someone tries to do something with ebooks and it flops, it hurts the credibility of the entire ebook market. (How many years did Stephen King set it back with that half-assed The Plant stunt?)

I want Tor to sell lots of ebooks. Which is why it concerns me that it's taking so long. When Baen did their free library, they didn't do it until they were ready to sell sequels, so they could take advantage of the momentum it provided. (In fact, it originally started out as a free sample of what their Webscriptions would be like—it was only when the Honor Harrington series of which the first book was free experienced a huge jump in sales that they realized what they were onto.)

Tor, on the other hand, did not do this—so they were not set up to capitalize on the surge of interest it produced. They were hoping to turn it to the website, and to some extent have succeeded—but when people read the first book in a series, they don't think, "Oh man, that makes me want to go read a blog!" They want to go read the next book.

I'm sure Tor started the ebook giveaway with the best of intentions, to draw attention to its impending website. But still, I can't help notice that most of the books were the first volumes of series, and I imagine that, as Pablo said, they were hoping that the free sample ebooks would drive people to buy the later print books in the series in the absence of electronic versions. And I expect that will happen, to an extent.

But there are more and more people who prefer electronic books, for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have no shelf space, maybe it's convenient for them to read on their PDA (especially since they can look like they're taking notes in meetings!), maybe they have bad eyesight and need to blow the text up really big. One person upthread even mentioned being in the Peace Corps in a developing nation.

These people will be highly disappointed and frustrated that they cannot get the books they want in the format they prefer. They will be even more frustrated if they did not find this out until after getting hooked on the series and wanting to find out what happens next.

They may even feel like they have been victims of a bait-and-switch, being teased with the prospect of a series of ebooks and only finding out after the first one that they'll have to go print (or, in the case that Peter David book, have to wait a whole fricking year for a sequel, but that's another issue).

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that some of the people who love books the most are some of the people who are least able to communicate clearly with other people. (Not too much practice at it, since their noses were always in the books.) So the sort of inarticulate rage they come in here with should not be too surprising either.

I don't think that people should have to "take" abuse. But to turn around and be abusive right back doesn't help Tor's image, and it doesn't help the aggravated reader. It generates more heat than light.

People on both sides should step back and calm down, and stop fueling the fire. It's way too easy for faceless bickering on the Internet to escalate.

And Tor should do everything that it can (as I'm sure that it already is) to get those ebooks available while the interest is still running hot from the freebies—especially since the freebies aren't there anymore to keep generating that interest. The longer the wait is, the more people will have found some other way to read the books, and decide they no longer need to purchase them to find out what happens next. And so Tor loses out on business, and (worst case) the naysayers might get another reason to say, "Oh, yeah, those ebooks, they're just a passing fad."
Blue Tyson
191. BlueTyson
Legal secret stuff? Sure. It is also possible that said legal people involved here are just poor, given the 'glacial' pace pointed out.

I am sure we have all seen multibillion dollar empires change hands in far less time than this has taken. :)

164 certainly has a point though. In the past, I have written to several major publishers with questions. Number of replies = zero.

Actual people with blogs/journals etc. like here are different, obviously - but official channels, presuming what they have actually works, would certainly appear to be a complete waste of time.

That being said, looks like posting from Opera works now! :)
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
193. pnh
"I don't think that people should have to 'take' abuse. But to turn around and be abusive right back doesn't help Tor's image"

Actually, given that Tor's "image" is pretty much "a bunch of skiffy true believers who don't put up with bullshit," I suspect "Tor's image" is doing just fine. But thank you for your concern.
Blue Tyson
194. BlueTyson

Yay for Space Opera browsing and posting. :)
Jeremiah Griswold
195. muchrejoicing
Wow. This comment thread is just out of this world.

I think #13 DMcCunney asked a good question, and #14 pnh answered it. The rest of the screaming is honestly not doing any good.

Someone said Tor was stupid (I'm paraphrasing) for not having eBooks you can buy after the freebies were over. OK. I personally don't care about eBooks (although I'm starting to get into them), but I see the point. Tor might have lost out on a lot of money by not having that available.

So, again, people saying things like (again, paraphrasing) "I wanted to give Tor money, but they don't want it." I understand this too. I have said this often in brick and mortar places. *However* I do not stand in the store and berate the poor register monkey. I just leave.

But some people stayed here. And complained. Loudly. And whether you think so or not, many of you were not polite. But people did respond to you. pnh is actually an editor. An actual editor at Tor responded!

Someone complained that they did not get any response from other publishers about eBooks. Tor gives you a whole website of blogs and people who respond to your questions. I would think you would be happy that Tor is so open.

Instead, many people feel entitled. One person just kept asking "where can I buy an ebook?" Repeating the same question over and over when people have answered you already is not polite.

So, overall, if you are still unhappy at the end of this comment thread, you need to grow up. An actual editor at Tor responded to comments personally. The staff here said they are trying to have ebooks, and something will be out soon. Say OK, and thank you, and move on. Real world publishers do not move as fast as piratebay. That's just how it is.
Don Slaymaker
196. slayda
Somewhat off topic but inspired by some posts here;

pnh, Torie & anyone else in any associated with Tor Publishing, PLEASE do not equate Kindle books to ebooks. The general populous can not even buy Kindle books unless they own a Kindle. I admit that Kindle books use electrons to display their books but there are many, many ebook readers that have absolutely no access to Kindle books.

Ebooks, on the other hand, can be bought by anyone if they are available at all. The buyer may need some hardware to view them, but they can at least buy ebooks without having to buy some special hardware.

Thank you,
Arachne Jericho
197. arachnejericho

Zoe's Tale was released on August 19th, the same day of the hardcover, simultaneously across Amazon's Kindle store, Sony's ebookstore, and Mobipocket.

I'm not worried.
Taylor 514ce
198. Taylor514ce
Yep... it's the ONLY Scalsi book on Sony's ebookstore, and is $17.46. I hope it does well, really I do. I like Scalsi's work. Seems like a neat guy, too. But there are two barriers here:

1. Where are the other books? Fans want everything. That's why we're called "fans". Offering book four of a series but not the rest is arguably worse than offering just book one!

2. The price. $9.99 for a Kindle Edition, that's a good price. $17.46 is not.

It's very heartening to see, though, the book hit the e-book vendors, in multiple formats. Thanks for that.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
199. pnh
I don't know what the story is on the price, but I agree completely that it's best to offer whole series, and I think this will be the case with Scalzi in a fairly short time.
Taylor 514ce
200. Taylor514ce
That's interesting. Each time I ask Sony about a price discrepancy, the answer always comes back, "the publisher sets the price, and we discount from there".

If you have any input on pricing, it would be lovely to see a rational, uniform price across all e-book formats and vendors, without Amazon favoritism.

Of course, I realize that Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla, and will price things however they want. That said, their e-book prices do reflect what e-book buyers expect to pay.

Kindle pricing vs. general e-book pricing is a complicated topic, and I'd love to hear a publisher's perspective, if you're willing.
Arachne Jericho
201. arachnejericho
I've queried pnh before about pricing discrepancies in the Kindle store just a few days before. Sometimes mistakes are made---in this case, a couple dozen out of a couple hundred of Tor books in the Kindle store were at $16 - $20 (or even more). The error was on Tor's side.

Two days later, the ones I pointed out have been corrected, plus all the others.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden is awesomely responsive.
Taylor 514ce
202. Taylor514ce
Good to know. Maybe he'll have a chat with Sony for me. All I get is the stock answer.
203. John Ridley
Thanks for the free books! I was only tracking things via the emails, and as far as I can tell no "OK, we're done" or "go to this URL to get the whole set before they're gone" email ever went out. I just now came up here wondering why I hadn't gotten an email from Tor for a few weeks.

Anyway, thanks for what you gave out. I have a Sony reader, and I have decided that any future book purchases from me will be in non-DRM ebook format.

Not Kindle - that's a locked-in format and I don't do those. I have a small collection of ebooks that I bought a few years ago for a platform which was clearly not going away - only to have it go away. Now I have unusable files. Lesson learned; do not pay money for restricted-use files. People are starting to learn this as things like DRM'd music companies leave the business and leave people with nothing.

PDF isn't a valid ebook format either. PDF doesn't reflow to match the reader it's being read on, and therefore is only really readable on an actual PC. LRF would be great, LIT is OK since it can be converted from to LRF.

I'm waiting, credit-card in hand, to give Tor and its authors money for ebooks. I'm sure they'll come around eventually, and I'm the sort that doesn't mind waiting 10 or 20 years if necessary; I won't cave and buy the paper before then (though I may just give up and get it from the library).
Chris Meadows
204. Robotech_Master
Speaking of Tor and free e-books, another Tor author has decided to give away some of his works as e-books. (He tried to post about it here, but kept getting a Fatal Error.)

Jeffrey Carver is giving away his book Neptune Crossing as a free e-book (soon to be followed by the other two volumes in the trilogy, as lead-up to releasing a fourth book in the series).

I wrote an entry about it on TeleRead, and Carver's written about it in his own blog, too.
Jeffrey Carver
205. JeffreyCarver
Thanks, Robo. (Can this be? Am I actually able to post now? I have been frustrated for days by an inexplicable error whenever I tried to post.)

Anyway, yes -- with the impending publication of Sunborn (, I have started putting the entire Chaos Chronicles to date up for free ( Neptune Crossing now, others coming soon.

(I'm not seeing a button here to create links, so sorry about the crude URL listings.)
Abigail Sutherland
206. evilrooster
Jeffrey @205:

The site uses bbCode, which gives you links when you type, for instance,

words you want hyperlinked

without *'s (I put them in so the code interpreter doesn't think I want a link there).

In other words, Jeffrey Carver's Chaos Chronicles are available to download here.
207. Mr_Jones9999
I downloaded all the books, it was fabulous and I have enjoyed hours and hours of reading. Back to the basics. READING, audio books and video are well and good, however the imagination fostered by a good read takes me back to the "good ole days" when there weren't any of the former. using mobireader on my blackberry to read the eBooks lets me carry a full library with me at all times. Thank you for this oppertunity to READ again.

Blue Tyson
208. BlueTyson
It has still been a bit browser flaky recently, Jeffrey, I have noticed.
Jeffrey Carver
209. JeffreyCarver
Thank you Evil, or should I say Rooster -- I want to use the proper form of address here! -- for putting in that code for me. Now I can copy and paste. :)

I do recognize that form, now, from other BBs, but they usually have markup tools so you don't have to peck it all out, so to speak.

Blue Tyson
210. BlueTyson
As in, tried a couple of other threads, failed in two browsers, but this one works. Can be quite weird.
Beverly Davey
211. BevDavey
I just found your site.(8/31/08). I'm living in Chile, and would like to read Tor books, but due to copyright laws the books must be downloaded from the publisher. I can't find anything on your website about ebooks, just the expired freebies. I can get ebooks from Baen, but I would like more choices. Do you have ebooks available now, or do I just not read your books?
Thank you
Torie Atkinson
212. Torie
@211 BevDavey

As previously mentioned in this thread (14, 149, 156): in addition to what's currently available for the Kindle and through Sony and Fictionwise, Macmillan is actively converting all titles to which they have rights; the Baen Webscription service will begin selling a number of titles as soon as some technical details are worked out on Baen's end; and More Things Are Coming so stay tuned.
The free ebooks download: is a website for free download of ebooks, where you can enjoy free rapidshare download, and you can easily find a free ebooks directory of more than 200,000 titles categorized in format of pdf, chm, html and etc.
Chris Meadows
214. Robotech_Master
I have to admit, it takes real chutzpah to post a link to a "pirate" site on the blog of a publisher.
Zeyd Merenkov
215. drzeydksa
Thanks for a most-enjoyable reading list, helped me pass the winter and spring, please consider doing something like this again...I am willing to buy such books in an e-format, especially if available in a PDF format without digital rights management.
Don Slaymaker
216. slayda
Thanks, but when can I expect my pony?

Just kidding, since I have to go today (and the next several) to clean out my wife's horse stall. I would much prefer the ebooks - not nearly so messy & much more interesting.

Thanks again.
Torie Atkinson
217. Torie
@ 216 slayda

You could always read in the stall! :)

And to our fabulous ebook fans here at we've been listening to all of your suggestions and comments and concerns, and are going to be bringing back the free ebook program! Registered users will be able to download at least one title a month, so if you're not registered, get to it. The books, as per usual, will not contain DRM.

I know it's not a full, permanent ebook store, but rest assured we are working on Things To Come.

In the meantime, enjoy the free books!
Andrea Griffin
218. vicgems
*Squee!* Oh I so adore ebooks (especially free ebooks). Thank you ever so much for bringing them back! :)

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

;) Andrea
220. Walter Ego2
aaargh, I have been subscribed to all the emails and downloaded the pdfs as they became available, but now I realize that it would have been better to download the mobis instead to read on my ipod touch: is there going to be any more 'get them while you can' week at any point?
Nieves Farias
221. Dreamline
Hey, I thought we couldnt download the old e-books any more. I still have most of them in my e-mail, and I just downloaded Orphans of Chaos with no problem.
Chris Meadows
222. Robotech_Master
The books have never been taken down from the server, just the links to them. If you still have the emails, or can find blog posts that link directly to the files, you can still snag them.

Too bad that Walter posted as a guest, so I don't have any way to find him and send him a message suggesting he try the links from the emails anyway.
Torie Atkinson
223. Torie
They have indeed been taken down from the server. The promotion is over, sorry folks!
Paul Howard
224. DrakBibliophile
Torie, are we allowed to share the free ebooks?

Drak Bibliophile
Torie Atkinson
225. Torie
@ 224 DrakBibliophile

The short answer is no, you don't have permission to redistribute, and we reserve the right to shut down
anyone who's publicly redistributing them without the permission of the authors and ourselves. Now I realize that we have some authors who give away, or who have given away, full texts of their Tor novels online--these instances all reflect specific arrangements between those authors and Tor, and should not be taken as a general license to redistribute anything anyone has been allowed to download.
Keith Carscadden
226. KCarscadden
Just one more voice saying that I really like the free e-books, but what I'm really looking forward to is Tor selling as many e-books as possible .
227. jmurphy
The promo may be over, but the links do still work.
The books have not been taken down. You may have a technical problem.

Chris Meadows
228. Robotech_Master
That's what I said, and Dreamline too. But surely Torie would know, if anyone would, since she works for Tor. We must just be hallucinating. :)
Torie Atkinson
229. Torie
@ 227, 228

I think a facepalm is in order. You are both totally right, and I offer my sheepish apologies. The books were unfortunately still accessible due to technical glitches. We're taking care of it right now, so this should be moot in a few hours. Thanks so much for the heads up, and sorry about all the confusion! I'll try to keep future hallucinations to a bare minimum. :)
Chris Meadows
230. Robotech_Master
Well, not "unfortunately" for anyone who hadn't had the chance to get them yet. But I take your meaning and it's good that you're closing that loophole. :)

I'm sure you do realize, though, that regardless of what you said in @225, they will be impossible to remove from the international peer-to-peer networks regardless, as will any future freebies you give out. (The record and movie companies haven't had much success, and I don't expect Tor has anywhere near as much money or lawyerage as they do.)
Torie Atkinson
231. Torie
@230 Robotech Master

Piracy is a fact of the modern era and we don't presume to have the Answer (and, as evidenced by our ebooks, don't think DRM is the answer either).

That being said, we still reserve the right to shut down anyone who is publicly redistributing these without permission.
Gary Foster
232. gfoster
Some of the ranting here is positively ridiculous.

Thank you so much, Tor, for giving me what was it... something like 20 books for free? I've discovered some new authors (Hello Mr. Scalzi) and bought dead tree additions of more of their books (again hello Mr. Scalzi) and I just want to say thanks.

Thanks for giving me so much free reading material for me to consume on my 2 hours of train commute time a day. You've not only hooked me on eBooks, you've hooked me on other authors that I hadn't tried yet. While I'd prefer to have digital editions of *everything* I'm still perfectly willing and able to go buy dead-tree editions until that day happens. Between my wife and I we read enough to fund a small third world country with the purchases, I'm sure.

I read them using either eReader or Stanza on my iPhone and I've purchased dozens of additional ebooks for both platforms from other digital publishers, all because of the "first hit" from you guys. I'll gladly continue to throw business your way when and if you decide to put up a store (and if you do, can I please ask for no-DRM open epub format so I don't have to go through gyrations converting them? K'thx'bye). In the meantime, you've expanded my horizons a bit and helped put some money in other people's pockets as well (fictionwise, ereader, Baen, etc). I'll gladly send business your way, either to Tor for dead-tree books or for ebooks whenever I find more reading material that strikes my fancy.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that we all got a very generous gift.

From a very grateful customer...

-- Gary F.
233. G. W.
Thanks for getting me hooked on E-books I now spend the money I was buying lottery tickets with here instead. and I get more for it too

I like the e-books because my vision is suffering and I can enlarge the print sufficiently to read it
I have always been an avid SF fantasy fan.
Ben HM3
234. BenHM3
Scalzi's e-book sent me off to buy one. Score for Tor.

And where are the ponies?
235. doced
What is the anticipated publication date of book XII in Jordan's The Wheel of Time series?
Eirin Saeves
236. Eirin
Yay for the Lindskold freebie.

Will there be ponies for X-mas? There really should be ponies for the holidays. It's all traditional an' stuff, I'm sure.

Joe Haldeman
237. haldeman
Please excuse if this is in the wrong place. I just signed up with and haven't had time to read all the stuff about posting -- leaving for Philadelphia in less than an hour.

John Updike's death day before yesterday prompted me to blog --

John Updike died yesterday. I liked a lot of his writing, especially the zany _The Centaur_. He could have been one of us fabulists, if fame and fortune hadn't pulled him away. He said a simple and wise thing:

"The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and he does it without destroying something else."

Of course political art -- not always a contradiction in terms -- can destroy institutions, or eat away at them. _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ and _Guernica_.

It's fair to say that White America wouldn't have elected an African-American president without the integrating effect of black music, from Louis Armstrong to hip-hop, and black drama and fiction, commercial as much as "serious."

(Genre people are always wrestling with that word, because it's a shorthand antonym for "commercial." So what do you call commercial work that has serious consequences? Effective, I guess.)

When I first started working at MIT, back in the 80's, our writing department had a joint cocktail party with the Harvard writing department. It was kind of oil-and-water. One exchange stands out in my memory. A Harvard professor had said something dismissive about science fiction, and a colleague reminded her that she had taught _The Left Hand of Darkness_.

"That's true," she explained patiently, "but that's not science fiction. It's literature."

So I went home and wrote about flying squids.

When I first started working at MIT, back in the 80's, our writing department had a joint cocktail party with the Harvard writing department. It was kind of oil-and-water. One exchange stands out in my memory. A Harvard professor had said something dismissive about science fiction, and a colleague reminded her that she had taught _The Left Hand of Darkness_.

"That's true," she explained patiently, "but that's not science fiction. It's literature."
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