Mon
Jul 19 2010 12:34pm

Feed Your Reader, revisited

Starting tomorrow, twelve of the first thirteen original stories published on Tor.com will be available on a bunch of e-book platforms, including the Kindle store, Apple’s iBooks store, Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore, the Kobo store, and the Sony Reader store, for 99 cents each. These are in effect little e-chapbooks, complete with the original Tor.com art on their “covers,” designed to work properly with the current generation of e-book devices and reading programs.

The stories going up are:

  • “After the Coup” by John Scalzi
  • “Down on the Farm” by Charles Stross
  • “Shade” by Steven Gould
  • “The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “Catch ’Em in the Act” by Terry Bisson
  • “Jack and the Aktuals, Or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory” by Rudy Rucker
  • “A Water Matter” by Jay Lake
  • “The Film-makers of Mars” by Geoff Ryman
  • “Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson
  • “Errata” by Jeff VanderMeer
  • “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction” by Jo Walton
  • “A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon” by Ken Scholes

A thirteenth story, Cory Doctorow’s “The Things That Make Me Weak And Strange Get Engineered Away,” will join these soon on several of these platforms.

As these stories become available for sale, they’ll remain freely available on Tor.com. We’ll be taking down the downloadable versions—the ePub and PDF files, and so forth—but the stories will still be complete on the site, along with their downloadable audio. This is all an experiment on everybody’s part, Amazon’s and Apple’s and B&N’s and everyone else’s, and ours as well. So bear with us as we fire up the Tesla coils in the sub-basement of the Flatiron Building. (Distant thuds, screams, the sound of enormous wings...)

11 comments
Estara Swanberg
2. Estara
Hmm, I could understand the move with new stories for Tor.com - which haven't been offered in downloadable format to registered readers here before.

I feel somewhat brassed off that you're removing added value you offered initially of your own free will for registered readers here.

I do get that this is all an evolving experiment though. So I'll surely keep buying books by authors I love from Tor. I'm unlikely to buy ebooks I was able to download for free before, though.

Also if the authors get additional royalties for their stories being made into what are essentially ebooks-for-sale, more power to them.
Edward Winston Bear
3. Edward Winston Bear
Excellent idea, and I'll be glad to buy the Scalzi, Stross, and Doctorow. I'm big on authors eating hot food and sleeping indoors.

One thing, though. The stories should also be available at Fictionwise, since the stores listed above sell in DRM-infested formats that generally won't go into my Palm.

Thank you.
Irene Delse
4. irenedelse
This is a great, but please, allow me to second Edward Winston Bear's suggestion: how about Fictionwise? Their DRM-free multiformat section is perfect for those who don't have a Kindle or an iPad, or even for people who simply want to own the file they paid for.
Fugu Tabetai
5. FuguTabetai
I also would like to buy non-DRM'd versions for use in my non-mainstream (OLPC with a beautiful screen, Ubuntu, FBReader) non-DRM supporting e-reader.
Shawn Powers
6. trunkboy
Patrick,

I like the idea of 99 cent "bite sized" bits of fiction. I really do. But like everyone else is saying, please keep providing DRM free versions here. They don't have to be free, I'll happily pay (like I just did for my Kindle versions), but I'd like to be able to read the stories on the reader of my choice.

99 cent short stories could be for fiction like 99 cent MP3 (DRM free!) versions of songs are for music.

We'll pay, we just want to actually consume what we buy in any way we choose. If I want to load a short story into my Speak-N-Spell, I should be able to do so, no? :o)
Christopher Doty
7. suomichris
I'm stoked about being able to pay a buck for these and have them in a happy electronic format. Although the complaints about DRM should certainly be considered, I'm not sure how relevant it is for something that costs .99 cents. Plus, Kindle has a reader for damn near every platform, so...

My purpose for this comment, though: I can't seem to find the Bear story listed at Amazon :(
sparrow hawk
8. sprrwhwk
I'll nth the desire for DRM-free versions and grumble quietly to myself about how I keep discovering cool ebook-type-things, and finally having the time and means to read them, right after they've gone pay-onlymostly. (Which is hardly your fault, of course.)

It's always troublesome to me when things go in the direction of more restriction rather than less. The original free version seems like a sunk cost for you -- why the sudden desire to recoup it? This is especially true if the more restricted version isn't somehow more valuable to me than the previous free version, or is in fact less valuable (as is the case for me with DRM'd ebooks). The emotional logic goes, "So I'm giving you money in exchange for something I could formerly get for free; what are you giving me?"

A potential way to add value to me and make me more likely to spend the money on them would be to offer the stories bundled together, perhaps at a slightly reduced anthology price than 12 times $0.99, in addition to the a la carte offering, so I don't have to click on 12 individual "buy" buttons. Saving me the time and effort of tracking ebooks down individually really is potentially worth $8-10 to me. :-)
Edward Winston Bear
9. Glm71
Obviusly, none of the stories are available for people living in Europe.
Can someone explain me why Tor don't sell ebook in Europe? ... Yes, I know ... they don't have international rights ... but all the other publishers (pyr, del rey, daw, roc, ecc.) have - at least for some books - international rights. How is it possibile that only Tor don't have international rights?
Conrado Bermudez
10. quecojones
Three things:

#1 - I'd definitely buy these if they were offered as DRM-free ePub files.

#2 - an anthology collection (at a discount would be nice but not a must), especially paired with #1, would be even better.

#3 - the international thing is just a silly restriction because the files were freely available to international readers before and the stories are, if I understood the post correctly, still freely available on the site (copy + paste text and images into a bunch of software and save in your preferred format; DRM-free) so... why not make it easier for international readers to give you money instead of just annoying them and, very likely, getting them to give more thought to "that P2P/BitTorrent thing" the geeks keep talking about?

Anyway, just my $0.02...

PS: Links to these in the stores they are available would make them a lot easier to buy than having to hunt each one down... just sayin'.
Edward Winston Bear
11. NatalieF
I just went to pick these up and they are not available (according to search) in the UK iBooks store. :(

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