Free(ish) Neil Gaiman

After asking the world which book they’d like him to make available for free electronically, Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” is now available to read online for nix. Only this is, as Cory Doctorow points out, it’s not in a format that anyone would actually want to read:

They’ve put the text of American Gods up in a wrapper that loads pictures of the pages from the printed book, one page at a time, with no facility for offline reading. The whole thing runs incredibly slowly and is unbelievably painful to use. I think we can be pretty sure that no one will read this version instead of buying the printed book — but that’s only because practically no one is going to read this version, period. 


I think that he’s right. The way Harper Collins has approached this ‘free’ e-book is kind of like those pubs that stick the front page of the daily newspaper above the men’s pissoirs. Sure, it’s free, and you can read it – but it’s really only something you’d do comfortably for a fairly short period of time.


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