Free Copies of Cult of Mac and Cult of iPod on FileSharing Networks




Wired’s Editor in Chief Chris Anderson says the future of business is free, and so my publisher and I are giving away free copies of my books.

Bill Pollock of No Starch Press has seeded full electronic versions of my coffeetable books — Cult of Mac and Cult of iPod — to Bittorrent via Pirate Bay.

We want to see if giving away copies of the books will have any effect on sales.

“I’ve been in publishing for just over 20 years and my training has not been to give books away,” writes Pollock on the No Starch blog. “But I think there’s something to this and logic tells me that if we increase the visibility of our titles, we’ll sell more books.”

We came up with the idea after reading about the amazing success to bestselling author Paulo Coelho, who seeds his own books to file-sharing networks and then promotes them on his blog. Coelho claims great success with “pirating” his own books, saying it has had a slow but dramatic effect on sales.

Of course, Coelho is an internationally acclaimed author with a high profile, which may account for his success more than giving away free books. But still, it’s an experiment worth trying.

As Pollock says on his blog: “I think that publishers (music and book) are spending too much time circling the wagons and not enough time thinking of ways that they can use technology to advantage. Certainly, our move here is a bit unusual, but someone has to take the plunge. May as well be us.”

Here’s the torrent for Cult of Mac.

And the torrent for Cult of iPod.

If you download the books, remember to keep your torrent client open so that others can also download the files.

Please let me know what you think of the experiment and the books. Send mail to:


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30 responses to “Free Copies of Cult of Mac and Cult of iPod on FileSharing Networks”

  1. Mario Panighetti says:

    I picked up Cult of Mac several years ago, but free is free! Now I can look at the purdy pictures at work. ^__^ This piracy-as-promotion thing seemed to work well for Nine Inch Nails, so I’ll be rooting for your success as well.

  2. brad says:

    Thank you so much. I’m in college and I can’t afford to buy everything I want. I use bittorrent all the time to download music and books (and audio books) that I know I have some interest in, then when I have the cash I go out and buy them.

    This was a great idea by you and your publisher. Best of luck.

  3. Leonardo Souza says:

    Hi Leander!

    This is my first time at this blog (which is actually kinda strange since everybody considers me an “Apple” guy), but I already liked it.

    I follow Chris Anderson’s insights and I’m also curious about this “freeconomics”.

    One thing that I couldn’t agree more with Pollock and you is the fact that publishers should spend more of their time trying to use all this “traffic” in their favor, instead of trying to block it (which is almost impossible to do, anyway).

    Btw, both books were on my Amazon’s Whishlist for a while now, so I’ll download the torrent to check them out. But as I really like “real world” stuff that I can grab and look, I’ll probably buy them later too. :)

    Great idea and I hope it really brings you an increase in sales!


  4. Foo says:

    Yeah, it’s an experiment.

    It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you have a new book coming out in April.

    You’re such a fucking fake and a hack.


  5. Gouldsc says:

    I think this is an excellent strategy, and I wish you guys all the best with it. Your books are the kinds of things that people will want to have physical copies of if they enjoy the digital versions, so I can only see this helping sales.

  6. Dann says:

    This is fantastic.

  7. Gerd says:

    This strategy has at least worked for Paulo Coelho as he told the audience (including me) at this years DLD conference.

  8. Bram says:

    Yeah, this is really a great idea, do you know if you will also be doing the same thing to “Inside Steve’s Brain” when it comes out?

  9. Daz says:

    Great idea , while i think this may not be precisely the way to defeat on-line piracy its certainly the way forward , as the author states , having a ”circle the wagons mentality ” doesn’t solve the problem. Embrace the technology and use it to your advantage.

  10. Jon says:


    A great idea and welcomed from me at least :)

    @George – very pleasant comment. Sad man.


  11. Sen Han says:

    Hi thanks for that! I was just about to look for the torrents for your two books anyway. BTW i did purchase the physical copies earlier on but the idea of an uncluttered E-library does appeal to me, good luck with the experiment

  12. Electroboy says:

    Crikey, gentlemen. Brave move. I hope it works out for you. I’m tempted to go to my local bookstore and buy a copy of each out of a sense of guilt for what might come next!!

    I’ll have my fingers crossed for you guys.

  13. Maarten Van Coile says:

    Nice! But I seem to like the Mininova Content Distribution more.

  14. Jason Holliston says:

    Great move. I’m downloading them right now, and will read them during lunch breaks on my MBP. I almost always prefer the dead tree version of books, so there’s a good chance I’ll “upgrade” to the real thing later on.

  15. Ryan says:

    Thanks for this, Just had a quick skim through the book and when i get a chance im am going to buy it : )

    Just a shame about the images being of a lower quality …