Saturday, August 2, 2008

Little Brother

Cory Doctorow is a writer and blogger (Boing Boing, Craphound) and a big open-source guy. He is very articulate on copyright issues; he talks about how too much emphasis on copyright protection might lead to the suppression of information and less sharing of ideas and creativity.

Anyway, his latest book is a YA title, Little Brother, which is kind of like a little brother to Orwell’s 1984. Like all his books, Doctorow has published this title simultaneously in print and as a free download. He feels that the people who will download his books are not taking away in any way from the sales of the printed material—two different user groups. Libraries, for example, are going to be interested in the hard copy. And Doctorow’s got his eye out for libraries who might like a printed copy; he’s offering to help people who liked the free download and want to donate some money to him to instead buy hard copies for teachers and librarians.

Well, we do have the printed book in our collection; but all this made me wonder, should we promote the free download as well? Should we put a link on the teen page? Does that fit in with our mission to provide access to materials? Do our teens use Overdrive? Would they like to know about this? What do you think? Leave a comment!

(And does anyone know of this type of venture with a children’s book?)


Jill Corrente said...

This is my second time to write this--some advice that I should follow: always create your posts/comments in a saved word doc first! Anyway, as I was saying:

Maybe this isn't exactly like the "Little Brother" experiment (I know Stephen King has done some online publishing), but Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been published online (originally, I believe?). That page and our online books page are VERY popular on Tales' Treehouse. I'm still waiting on the MARC records to the new kids' material that we purchased through Overdrive--I do try to link to the online version of a book whenever possible. Has anyone seen a book that I've missed?

Melissa said...

Jill--thanks for the tip, I'll try to research Wimpy to find out. I should also look at the Kindle list again for what's available there. What interested me most about the Little Brother stuff was Cory's insistance on making his work available for free. Tumblebooks are free to our patrons, but ALD pays to make them availalbe, right?

Jill Corrente said...

Yes, TumbleBooks and Overdrive are fee-based, subsription services that the district pays for. Here's what I've found about Diary (from the site)

"Since its launch in May 2004 on, the Web version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been viewed by 20 million unique online readers. This year, it is averaging 70,000 readers a day."

"Kinney's popular Web comic, which began in 2004, makes its way to print as a laugh-out-loud "novel in cartoons," adapted from the series."

"He never intended to run Diary of a Wimpy Kid on the Web, but the opportunity came up to post his story on as he was developing it."