Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I just finished Cory Doctorow's
Eastern Standard Tribe, and let me say right up front that it's good, that you should read it, but that I downloaded it for free. Indeed, what caught my attention in the first place was that he even offers his work this way; though it makes a lot of sense, very few authors do it. You see, I almost never buy books, at least in a way that gets the author any money. I either get them from the library, or I buy them used. So, the odds of me paying for this book were nearly zero all along. Certainly, as an author, you'd rather someone read your book without paying for it than not read your book and not pay for it. My first thought on seeing that Doctorow is giving away his work is that I bet the majority of people who would download a book and read it for free wouldn't have bought it in the first place. This way, you get your words out to those people, who might spread some word of mouth, and who now might actually pay for something you write in the future (certainly I'm now tempted). Even if not, like I said, if you're not going to get money from someone regardless, better they read your stuff than not. If you've got game (and Doctorow does), there's really no risk. It's a little like the concept behind outlet malls: The barrier-to-entry to downloading a book and either printing it out or reading it on a screen is high enough that people who would pay for a book probably will do so anyway. That said, the book is quite good; I definitely recommend it. And if you like it, try out Syrup as well, of which EST reminded me a little bit.

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