My independently produced audio edition of Homeland, read by Wil Wheaton, is now available direct from me as a $15 MP3 download. The audiobook not only features Wil's reading, but also Noah Swartz reading his brother Aaron Swartz's afterword and Jacob Appelbaum reading his own afterword, recorded at the Berlin studio of Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire.
"When Don Katz first called and explained ACX to me I started to get excited. I've loved narrating audiobooks—winning the Audiobook of the Year Audie Award for The Graveyard Book was one of my proudest moments—and I am lucky in that almost all my books are now available in audiobook form. But I'm constantly astonished at how many great books, beloved books and books that have a special place in my heart, are not, and mostly never have been, available as audiobooks. ACX seems a brilliant way to change that. In an ideal world you should be able to listen to every book you love being read by someone who's perfect for it. Getting involved in ACX, and curating my own label within it, is my way of trying to help us get to that ideal world."Neil Gaiman uses ACX tools to liberate audio rights and to produce quality audiobooks! (Thanks, Juke!)
Malaysia's Y&R agency created these fantastic "ear worm" ads for a line of Penguin kids' classic audiobooks. I love the combination of kids' book illustration with anatomical detail and a Penguin-Classic-esque layout and colour scheme. That said, I'd avoid the digital download versions of these audiobooks like infectious material, as they appear to be poisoned with some species of DRM requiring you to use "Ingram Audio Manager," a bit of proprietary crashware. I'll stick with buying and ripping the CDs.
(via Street Anatomy)
The stories are read by Bronson Pinchot, whom you'll remember from his role as "Balki" on the sitcom "Perfect Strangers." This wasn't the greatest TV ever produced, and Pinchot's scenery-chewing comedy accent work was often over the top, but what little laughs Strangers evoked inevitably belonged to him.Read the rest
Brite later moved away from the vampire stuff, and began to write novels about New Orleans restaurateurs. Some of Brite's fans were displeased by this, but I really like these books too. I got the impression through mutual friends that Brite had disavowed her earlier work and wasn't happy to be known for it, so I was surprised to see a new adaptation of Lost Souls. The people at Crossroad assure me that the edition has Brite's approval, though.
The adaptation is good and sometimes great. The reader, Chris Patton, does generally excellent work with Brite's material, and the production values are very high, with the exception of a couple of minor read-os -- nothing fatal or even particularly off-putting. At $12.99 for 12 hours' worth of DRM-free MP3, this is a damned good bargain.
And what's more, it is a brilliant book, even more enjoyable today, 20 years later, than it was when I first read it. It's a book that reminds you that the first novel contains material that the author has saved up for her entire life, literally, and the resulting story is so rich and, well, enthusiastic that I was swept away with it.
Lost Souls is the story of Nothing, the bastard child of a callous, erotically charged vampire named Zilla, who carelessly impregnated Nothing's human mother one Mardi Gras night in New Orleans, even though he knew that human women who carry vampire children to term always die in delivery. Christian, the older vampire who cared for Nothing's mother after Zilla abandoned her, sends Nothing away to a small town in Maryland and leaves him on the doorstep of a middle-class couple.
15 years later, Nothing is a gloomy, strange subculture kid, trying to lose himself in indiscriminate sex and drugs and drink, without success. Though his adoptive parents hid the strange circumstances of his origins, he has lately uncovered them and this has widened the gap between him and the adults around him. One day, he simply leaves, taking $100 from his mother's emergency stash and heading vaguely out of town, thinking to visit Missing Mile, North Carolina, because he's fallen in love with the music of Lost Souls, an indie band whose homemade cassette he's happened upon, and Missing Mile is the address on the cassette's liner.
Lost Souls are a duo, Steve and Ghost, close friends who live for their music and who experience a brotherly bond that is strained but never broken, despite Steve's violent, fraught affair with Ann, his ex-girlfriend, and Ghost's odd, psychic gifts. Neither of them is really able to survive in the world, but together, they make almost a whole person, keeping one another from going beyond the self-destructive brink.
As Christian, Zilla (and his two vampire lovers, Twig and Molochai), Lost Souls, and Nothing cross the American south, heading for one another, drifting in and out of New Orleans, a story of raw, erotically charged nihilism unfolds. Brite's work is unselfconsciously brutal and matter-of-fact about rapes, prostitution, murder, beatings; it is simultaneously gloomy and gothic and exuberant and modern, a trick of authenticity that puts the likes of Stephanie Meyer and Anne Rice to shame.
Brite's characters blow past the point of no-return again and again, neither seeking nor receiving redemption, and yet throughout, they remain likable and even sympathetic. There, perhaps, is Brite's greatest gift, her capacity to romanticize the careening, self-regarding, the awful so well that you have to admit that there's a part of you that wants to let go, cut loose all bonds of propriety and empathy, some predator chained up in your psyche's basement.
Brite's recent work is awfully good, and I respect any artist who turns his back on what's easy and popular to follow his muse, but whether Brite loves this book any longer or not, I still love it. I'm delighted to discover that it's back in a new form, and hope it finds another generation to thrill and terrorize.
With a Little Help is my first serious experiment in self-publishing. I've published many novels, short story collections, books of essays and so on with publishers, and it's all been very good and satisfying and educational and so on, but it seems like it's time to try something new.
You see, I've always released my work under open licenses from the Creative Commons project, so that my readers could share and remix my works. A good number of these readers wanted to know why I didn't distribute the physical book as well, and see what a writer working on his own could do.
So here you have it. With a Little Help, consists of 12 stories, all reprints except for "Epoch," which was commissioned by the Ubuntu project's Mark Shuttleworth for $10,000 (this being the most expensive option for buying the book -- don't worry, there are cheaper editions). The book is available in many forms:
* Paperback, on demand from Lulu.com: $18. Read the rest
Available in four covers, with art by Frank Wu, Rick Lieder, Rudy Rucker, and Pablo Defendini (who also did the book's design, working from John Berry's wonderful typography). Every month, I add a new appendix to this edition, detailing my balance sheet for the project, as a service to others contemplating a similar venture.
Read the rest
Fans of the abridged reading and everyone else who is interested in the audiobook are being asked to pay in towards a full, free, unabridged release, also read by Rohrbeck. Once the total of €9000 is raised, the unabridged recording will also be released, free of charge, without DRM, under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, free for all comers (if the total sum isn't raised by a set time, all the money is refunded).
What's even cooler is that the audiobook (and the German print book, from Rowohlt), co-exist happily with a free fan-translation of the novel by Christian Wöhrl and a free fan audiobook reading by Fabian Neidhardt. Fans are free to promote the work to other fans, for free, while commercial operators produce commercial editions.
I'm going on a multi-city tour of Germany in September and I'm hoping to meet Christian and Fabian so that I can thank them in person. I'm also hoping that fans of the free editions support my cool, sharing-friendly German publishers and reward them for their open attitude towards free and paid media.
The Makers audiobook runs 18.5 hours and is formatted for burning onto 15 CDs. It's read by Bernadette Dunne. I really like Dunne's reading (here's a sample) and RHA's production job is tops. The MP3s are 128K/44KHz.
I get an additional 20 percent on top of my customary royalty if you buy it from me, and you get a book that has no DRM and no crappy "license agreement" requiring you to turn over your firstborn in exchange for the privilege of handing me your hard-earned money.
Right now, sales are only available through PayPal, though I hope that'll change soon. And if this is successful, I hope to add the audio for Little Brother and my forthcoming YA novel, For the Win.
This installment of the Brads webcomic shows the 22 steps a reader has to take in order to borrow a DRM-crippled audiobook from the public library. A compelling argument for libraries to boycott this stuff.
- XKCD strip explains how DRM creates piracy
- My DRM and ebooks talk from O'Reilly Tools of Change for ...
- DRM-free Kindle books: are they any free-er?
- Stupid DRM, abusive EULAs, hopeless ecommerce: why I'm not even ...
- O'Reilly drops ebook DRM, sees 104% increase in sales
- Obama's diplomatic gift to UK leader fubared by DRM
Stupid DRM, abusive EULAs, hopeless ecommerce: why I'm not even going to try to sell my short story collection audiobook downloads
For my next book, Makers, we tried again. This time Audible agreed to carry the title without DRM. Hooray! Except now there was a new problem: Apple refused to allow DRM-free audiobooks in the Apple Store--yes, the same Apple that claims to hate DRM. Okay, we thought, we'll just sell direct through Audible, at least it's a relatively painless download process, right? Not quite. It turns out that buying an audiobook from Audible requires a long end-user license agreement (EULA) that bars users from moving their Audible books to any unauthorized device or converting them to other formats. Instead of DRM, they accomplish the lock-in with a contract.With a Little Help: Can You Hear Me Now?
I came up with what I thought was an elegant solution: a benediction to the audio file: "Random House Audio and Cory Doctorow, the copyright holders to this recording, grant you permission to use this book in any way consistent with your nation's copyright laws." This is a good EULA, I thought, as it stands up for every word of copyright law. Random House was game, too. Audible wasn't. So we decided not to sell through Audible, which I was intensely bummed about, because I really like Audible. They have great selection, good prices, and they're kicking ass with audiobooks.
The audiobook of my latest novel, Makers has been published by Random House Audio, strictly in DRM-free formats over the net (this means that Apple won't carry it in the iTunes store, even though Audible was willing to carry it without DRM).
The reading is by Bernadette Dunne, a very talented actor. I just listened to this for the first time yesterday and I was blown away by Dunne's reading. I'm a huge audiobook nut, and I'm incredibly glad to have professional audiobook adaptations of my books from Random House -- and doubly grateful to them for supporting my commitment to DRM-free distribution. When you buy this book, you own it. The "terms of service" are "Don't violate copyright law," not "By buying this audiobook, you agree that we get to come over and kick you in the ass."