Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Matt Bell's How the Broken Lead the Blind now available as a free ebook

Here's Matt's reasoning for making this happen:

Since How the Broken Lead the Blind is sold out and won't be reprinted, I've now posted the entire book online so that anyone who couldn't get a copy can still read it exactly as it was in print. This is something I hope to do with every book I publish, as long as the presses I'm working with are supportive of the idea. I truly believe that all books should eventually be available for free in some form, so that any one wants to read them can, regardless of where they live or how much money they have or whatever other barriers might keep them from being able to get their hands on a copy. And then, of course, there are more selfish reasons: I'm so grateful that anyone's reading my writing, and am always happy to do whatever I can to make my work more available to anyone who's interested. So here it is.

In the future, what I'd really like is to be able to to post a book for free on the same day it goes on sale, but that'll obvious depend on who (if anyone) publishes the next book. Still, it's something I plan on bringing up if I get the opportunity.

In any case, you can now read How the Broken Lead the Blind online via Issuu or download it as a PDF for reading offline. Also, if you read the book and would like to add it on Goodreads, you can do so here.

Thanks again to everyone who bought a copy, and to Molly Gaudry, Christy Call, and David McNamara for all their work on this book. I appreciate it more than you can know.


John Dermot Woods said...

Matt Bell gets it. His reasoning is simple, humane, and smart. I really wonder why this attitude isn't more popular. We all want people to read our work, right? Why make it harder on people?

Josh Maday said...

Agreed all around, John. I think (and hope) that this attitude will become increasingly common. It will be better for readers and writers alike.

Jeff Vande Zande said...

I certainly agree that Matt's approach is beneficial to all with a book that has a print run of 100, sells out, and won't be reprinted.

What about books that small press publishers want to at least break even on? Or even turn a profit?

I'd be curious to hear what Larry Smith would say about this, Josh.

Just listening to Larry (a man who is also simple, humane, and smart), I'm guessing that he would have a different take on this.

And, good to see you blogging a little more, Josh. You always post such interesting stuff that keeps me in touch with a writing world somewhat off my radar.

Josh Maday said...

Jeff, I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with a small press wanting to break even or turn a profit with their books; that seems like the only way the press will continue unless it gets enough support from other sources. I don't see how it could be harmful to make a book freely available as a pdf, though; beyond the design/setup time (which now usually is already done as a pdf to prepare the manuscript for the printer) and creating a way for people to download it, there's minimal cost if any to make it available for free (as far as I know). And for something like Matt's chapbooks, which are sold out and will not be reprinted, it makes sense to make them available for anyone who wants to read them, especially if it can grow an audience that will probably be willing to pay should Matt publish a full length collection or novel. I can understand not wanting to make a full length novel freely available, but making an excerpt or the first chapter available for free download seems like it could help move more copies than just blurbs and reviews. I know I have bought books on Amazon because I was able to preview parts of the book before buying it. I hope that clarifies something about something.