How It Was: Getting the Books

I’m going to try an experiment with How It Was.

Every now and then, I’ll post an excerpt from the books here on the site; each excerpt will be in the form of a normal blog post. If you like the excerpts, this may frustrate you because the reading experience will be intermittent and disconnected — and my goal is to add neither frustration nor even simple annoyance to a world already full of them.

So I’ll also offer the excerpts in downloadable form — not just the usual PDF, but also optimized for viewing in various e-reader formats (Mobipocket and so on). While standard US copyright restrictions will apply, I’m not going to put any sort of digital-rights management (DRM) protections on these downloadable files, so you’ll be free to do whatever you like with them.

(Why not DRM-protect them? Not to tart up the matter or anything, but the reason is two-fold, both technical and, well, moral. Technically, I think it’s stupid for content providers to think they can prevent copying and re-distribution. Morally, it seems obvious to me that when someone has paid for content, they’ve paid for the privilege of loaning it to someone else, donating it to Goodwill, printing it, or whatever. I don’t want to play either game. For more on this, I’ll refer you to Cory Doctorow’s 2004 presentation on DRM to Microsoft employees; it’s available in various formats. His bottom line: DRM systems don’t work, are bad for society, are bad for business, and are bad for artists.)

In exchange, I’ll be setting up a sort of “micropayment” system which you can use to signal me that you’re reading and appreciating the booklets’ contents. Not sure how much the charge will be, just yet, but I’m thinking five or six dollars to get each of the four booklets in a form which is most convenient for your own reading habits.

For what it’s worth, each booklet in its entirety will probably take somewhere in the range of 45 to 60 minutes to read.

As I figure out the payment scheme (still researching it) and post new downloads on this page, I’ll let you know via the blog itself.

Thanks!

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