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: [email protected]