I’ve picked up my first hostile commentor to the post on this subject from a few days ago. That’s a little surprising that there is only one. All of the arguments I had on SFF.net, the flamiest, most ad hominem filled turdfights were all on intellectual property issues.
Via Kathryn comes news of another author doing the same thing. Peter Watts is giving away his novel Blindsight. Interestingly, he has one bigassed webpage with the whole novel in HTML. The first 100K of that get Google juice. I wonder what that does to the whole equation. I can tell you that I had never heard of Peter Watts before. I might not become a customer of his books, but the odds are higher today having heard of him than they were a week ago when I might have in a moment of confusion thought he was Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior.
In my reply to Max I note that I don’t know of anyone who has given away e-texts of their novels and then ultimately underperformed sales expectations. Does anyone know of a case where that has happened? The cases I know of are things like the South African Human Sciences Research Council and Baen Books.