Makers, my new novel: free downloads, donate to libraries and colleges, signings and tours

By Cory Doctorow

Today is the launch of my new novel, Makers, a book about people who hack hardware, business-models, and living arrangements to discover ways of staying alive and happy even when the economy is falling down the toilet. Weirdly, I wrote it years before the current econopocalypse, as a parable about the amazing blossoming of creativity and energy that I saw in Silicon Valley after the dotcom crash, after all the money dried up.

As with all my previous novels, the whole book is available as a free, Creative Commons download, under a NonCommercial-ShareAlike license that allows you to remix it to your heart's content and share the book and your mixes noncommercially. And as with my last two books, I've created a unique donations program that connects generous people with schools, universities, libraries, shelters, prisons and other cash-strapped institutions.

Here's how it works: this page has instructions for profs, librarians and similar worthies to list themselves as potential recipients for Makers (please pass this URL around to people who might want a copy!). If you've read the electronic text of Makers and want to reimburse me, but don't want a copy of the print book for yourself, you can buy a copy for the institution of your choice. Everybody wins: you get to settle your karma while supporting your favorite bookseller, a library or university gets a copy of the book without having to divert its budget, my publisher gets the sale and I get the royalty and the sales-figure. I've facilitated the donation of hundreds of books this way, and it works great.

I'm launching Makers in the UK at Forbidden Planet in London tomorrow (Thursday) night at 6PM, and I'll be having the Toronto launch with Bakka Books at the Merril Collection on November 12. You can pre-order inscribed copies from either event, and they'll be shipped after I sign. (There's also a great indie bookseller near my office in London, Clerkenwell Tales, which will take your inscription mail-orders; I'll stop in a couple times a week to sign them for the duration).

There's also a US east-coast tour with stops in NYC, New Jersey, Boston and Philly, but the details are still being finalized. If you think you can make it to any of those places and want to get an email once the details are fixed, drop me an email and I'll send you a note once I have them in hand.

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, this kick-ass Publishers Weekly starred review:

In this tour de force, Doctorow (Little Brother) uses the contradictions of two overused SF themes--the decline and fall of America and the boundless optimism of open source/hacker culture--to draw one of the most brilliant reimaginings of the near future since cyberpunk wore out its mirror shades. Perry Gibbons and Lester Banks, typical brilliant geeks in a garage, are trash-hackers who find inspiration in the growing pile of technical junk. Attracting the attention of suits and smart reporter Suzanne Church, the duo soon get involved with cheap and easy 3D printing, a cure for obesity and crowd-sourced theme parks. The result is bitingly realistic and miraculously avoids cliché or predictability. While dates and details occasionally contradict one another, Doctorow's combination of business strategy, brilliant product ideas and laugh-out-loud moments of insight will keep readers powering through this quick-moving tale.
Mighty is my w00t!


Published 2:50 am Wed, Oct 28, 2009

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About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

31 Responses to “Makers, my new novel: free downloads, donate to libraries and colleges, signings and tours”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I bought it from Waterstones in Glasgow yesterday!

    It’s a real kicker, I gotta say. Pretty nuts. Heartwarming ending. At least a few odd moments.

    • spookie says:

      You FINISHED IT? You bought it yesterday and YOU FINISHED IT? Don’t you have any idea how to savor the good stuff? I can read 1000+ words a minute, too, but why would I want to on something I want to savor. In fact, I lost 100 pounds last year by savoring my food and eating slowly and enjoying every bite. That’s it. No calorie counting and I still eat all my favorite high cal foods. With books, the crap I have to read for work? 1000+ wpm and get it over with. My few most favoritest authors? Throttle it back and make the book last 3, may be even 4 days! Jeez.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been reading it avidly as the chapters came up on, it really is a marvelous book. A++ will buy again.

  3. lasttide says:

    I don’t want to sound like a gushing fanboy, but it’s hard not to gush over this book. It’s not just a good read, but an inspirational one. You’ve outdone yourself Cory.

  4. Keneke says:

    Makepunk as the new cyberpunk? Intriguing!

  5. aaronlyon says:

    Loved your book, Cory! (Advance reader copy for our indie book store.) You did a great job of integrating all the topics we Boingers are passionate about: DIY, copyfight, recycling, openness, body mods, friendship, sex, and more. Can’t wait for your next book (oh–you just launched this one. Guess you can take a breather.)

    Lyon Books, Chico, CA

  6. scifijazznik says:

    The jacket art for both editions is great, but the UK edition is just so much cooler. Props to whoever came up with that.

    Being an old fart, I still prefer analog books to digital and MUST…HAVE…UK…EDITION. I know it’s silly, I know the words inside are the same (unless they change “color” to “colour” in the UK ed.) But as someone who spent his formative years working in record stores back when there were still record stores, I have long been cozy with the idea of paying more for a “superior” product from overseas and owning the bragging rights that come with it.

    Congratulations. Looking forward to it.

    • Tdawwg says:

      I must disagree: the British cover could be Exhibit A in a “Why British book covers (and graphic design in general) sucks compared to American.” There’s little visual flair, absolutely no sense as to how plastic burgers and businessmen relate to the text, an uber-boring palate (that soggy British climate?), etc. Whereas the Amerian cover seems to promise more Ed-Park, Josh-Ferris goodness, which may be misleading (haven’t read the book and probably won’t), it’s a simple, effective, compelling image. While I’m not sure how a bunch of discared keyboards relates to the concept-du-jour of “Maker”–it would seem to be the opposite, no? plastic keyboards VS crafted Makery homebrew goodness–at least it doesn’t make me sick looking at it.

      Dear Brits: stop desigining book covers. You’re damned bad at it.

  7. Stefan Jones says:

    I intend to download and donate tonight.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on the great reviews! I look forward to reading it.

  9. Brady says:

    Congratulations, Cory!

    We’ll see you tomorrow night at the signing.

    -Brady and Emma

  10. SamSam says:

    Huh, I came to say the opposite of scifijazznik: while the UK cover is really cool, the US cover is way cooler!

    The UK cover is great in graphic-design terms, but (without having read the book), I feel it has less to do with maker culture. Makers see a pile of old keyboards and turn it into a giant twitter-controlled sea monster. Pre-made snap-out parts? Not so much.

    (That said, until I had seen the US cover, I said “wow, that snap-out parts cover is great!”)

    One last positive, before I get annoyed and jaded with what’s sure to be 100 Makers posts a week (;)), I really like that you included Obama’s stirring words as your dedication:

    For “the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things.”

  11. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I prefer paper books, so I won’t be reading it until I can pick up a copy at my local bookshop. Nobody tell me any spoilers, please!

  12. dculberson says:

    Those must be stripper books, they have dollars stuck in their cords!

  13. BookGuy says:

    I’m going to get the eBook and….put it on my Kindle.


    Congrats on the excellent PW write up, Cory.

  14. Shelby Davis says:

    Thank you, Cory! Reading… now!

  15. Sceadugenga says:

    Was reading it on my phone on BART this morning within 5 minutes of seeing the tweet.

  16. Steve Stair says:

    I preferred the UK cover…just not to the tune of an extra $15 (the price differential plus shipping from Amazon UK). Very much looking forward to reading it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dear Brits: stop desigining book covers. You’re damned bad at it.

    Uh huh. Thousands upon thousands of dumb, dull American book covers with nothing but the title in dumb fonts (or with an author photo) make the case for you so well.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Downloaded it. So far I really like it, not what I expected at all. Oddly enough I’m one of the few people who actually prefers ebooks over print. So, I’ll be donating a copy to someone as soon as I get home.

  19. Martins says:

    Read this here blog post, took out my iphone, loaded the excellent stanza book reader app, typed “doctorow makers” in search box, chose the right book from seach results and voila! I have it and am starting to read into it right now. The whole process took me about two minutes. I am from Riga, Latvia and I find it quite incredible. Thanks!

  20. Anonymous says:

    How different is this from your “Themepunks” story?

  21. Cory Doctorow says:

    @22: THe first 50,000 words are “Themepunks” — the next 135,000 words are new material.

  22. ElJoe0 says:

    Hehe, Nice compelling first chapter. I do like the UK cover, the cat thing is just to cute :P (it kinda reminds me of Mr Mew in The World Ends With You on the DS. Long car journey tomorrow and for once I am looking forward to it, (wearing my steam punk goggles all the way!)

  23. querent says:

    awesome that I found this the day I got paid. thanks again cory.

  24. Kevin Kenny says:

    Cory, you so-and-so, you just cost me a couple of nights’ sleep.

    Thanks. :)

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much, anonymous donor. We here at Tomales High School in Tomales, California have received our copy of Maker and we’re very grateful!

    Lynn Schnitzer

  26. Anonymous says:

    That’s really fabulous to know how the things can be when done in proper way, I am really glad that you have given some valuable insights, thank you.ed

  27. Anonymous says:

    It’s 3:30 AM, and I can’t stop reading! I’ve got that Kettlewell insomnia! Thanks for a wonderful novel.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Good on you Cory – I loved it.