How to Get an eBook of Old Man’s War — Free!

Every stinkin’ day, I get e-mail: When is the eBook version of Old Man’s War coming about? Because, you know [enter 500-word justification of the existence of ebooks, which I find ironic because I've only had Agent to Stars available as an ebook for, oh, nine years], and that’s why there should be an ebook version.

Fine. There’s now a legal ebook version of Old Man’s War, actually produced by our good friends at Tor. And how much will you pay for this ebook? $10? $5? $24.95?

None of the above! You can have it absolutely completely and totally free (and that’s the “free as in free beer” free, not that annoying “free as in free speech” free). That’s right, we’re mortgaging my adorable daughter’s future college career to hand out free electronic copies of my most successful and critically acclaimed book! Because I love you guys just that much. No, no, you don’t have to hug me in gratitude. I don’t know where you’ve been, man. Just, you know, buy all the rest of my books. That’ll square us.

Not only that, but in addition to getting my book free as an authorized ebook, you can get other authorized, free ebooks as well — Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn is also on offer, and more very cool books will be announced soon. No more trawling Pirate Bay and reading copies OCR’d by monkeys! These are the real deal, and free.

(And for those of you who care about such things: My understanding is that they don’t have DRM on them. Or at least, mine isn’t supposed to have, and I don’t think they’re planning mine to be special in that regard.)

But — of course — there’s a catch. A really not-at-all-painful catch: If you want the legal, free, ebook version of Old Man’s War and other books, you need to go here, to Tor.com, and sign up for a newsletter from Tor. Sign up for the newsletter, get the free ebooks. Simple.

Why is there a sign up form there? Because Tor has something really cool planned there. How cool? So cool that I gave them permission to give away my book to promote it. I could tell you more, but the laser beams pointed at my head from Tor’s phalanx of orbiting satellites inclines me to keep my mouth shut about it for now. Suffice to say, I think you would want to know about it even without the free books.

So go and sign up. From there, as the site itself says:

Within a day or so of sending us your address, you should receive an email with a download link for this week’s free book. As different free books are swapped in, about once a week, you’ll get further emails with different download links. This program will end when the site launches, but you can keep the free books; we won’t be erasing them with our orbital attack electromagnets. (Yet.)

They have the orbital attack electromagnets, you see. They just won’t use them.

Mistborn is the first free ebook they have on offer; Old Man’s War comes in the next week. So it pays to sign up early so you can get the full course of ebooks. Which, to remind you, are free. And legal. And made of awesome.

Here’s that link again. Sign up and enjoy. And, yes, tell your friends.

(Hat tip to Irene Gallo, who all things considered should be considered a reliable source.)

105 thoughts on “How to Get an eBook of Old Man’s War — Free!

  1. i hope they accept my fake personal information. does the zip code 12345 exist in the us? i am asking because i am from germany (i read scifi books in english)

  2. I hope that “something new” is similar to Baen webscription. I’d happily buy unDRMed ebooks for 5-6$, it’s cheaper than using amazon.co.uk/de/fr or internetbookshop.it and way faster and safer, considering the despicable state of the Italian postal service.

  3. Oh goody!

    Wayne and Garth say:

    “We’re not worthy!”
    “We’re not worthy!”

    Any chance you can link this thread off of the “Scalzi Creative Sampler”? I plan to tell all my friends who have yet to be “Scalzi-fied” to check out the e-book, and I’d hate to see this post age-off the front page.

    Thanks John!

  4. Very cool, John. One of these days, maybe eBook readers will really take off. I dunno. It’s hard to beat a dead tree, but you know, books aren’t like dump trucks, they’re more like a series of tubes. Or something like that…

    Oh, and free beer/speech? Ugh. I’m a huge open source advocate, and yet I too get annoyed with much of the craziness that topic normally invites.

  5. Very cool. I am a big fan of ebooks myself. Do you know what format they are in?

    I am reading OMW right now in hard back, amusingly enough. I will probably switch to the eBook if I’m not done – it’s just easier to carry to work.

  6. Thanks John.

    Eos Books was giving away e-books as well, on account of their 10th anniversary, but they restricted it to US residents. It appears that Tor hasn’t done that, which is a bonus to all of us Canadian readers.

  7. But what if I want my e-book SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR??? What am I supposed to do then?

    *prepares to electronically picket Scalzi’s webserver or something equally useful*

  8. Of the things that are cool, this is the coolest one I’ve seen today. Thank you John, and thank you TOR. This makes me want to buy more of your books – because even though I like having the physical book, I also really appreciate being able to access it in my preferred mode (in a window next to CATIA, with a web browser pointing to online reference material).

  9. YES! This is excellent news, I try so hard to get my friends to read OMW but they have to go out and buy it. Thanks Tor! Thanks John Scalzi!

  10. Every stinkin’ day, I send Scazi an e-mail: When is the eBook version of Old Man’s War coming about? Because, you know [enter 500-word justification of the existence of ebooks, which he finds ironic because he's only had Agent to Stars available as an ebook for, oh, nine years], and that’s why there should be an ebook version.

    What should I start pestering him for tomorrow?

  11. Sigh, I broke down and bought a dead tree edition of Old Man’s war last week. I’ve been wanting to read you for a while, but read ebooks mostly.. Now I find out that a free ebook of Old man’s war is available. i don’t regret the money for OMW, but now I want you to publish the remaining books as ebooks, preferably ones where I can send you electronic money in exchange for electronic words.

  12. I already have Old Man’s War, but I signed up for the newsletter anyway. You said there’s cool stuff ahead. I trust you. We’ve bought your other novels already and plan to buy future ones. Tell Athena that if daddy’s footing the bill, she should double-major ;)

  13. I also just bought the hardcopy edition two weeks ago. I expect a letter of thanks when your daughter graduate university.

  14. Hey, how long do you have to wait before getting some kind of confirmation email or something? I signed up, but I don’t know if it works.

  15. “We cannot register you at this time…” Well, gee. Five minutes after somebody else was able to sign up, too, apparently.

    Do I offend??

  16. Ah. Spouse says she signed up already. No doubt they can tell I’m coming from the same computer, or something.

  17. Thanks, signed up. Is very good. I spent far too much money on Tor eBooks when they were available on Webscriptions.

    I like eBooks. I spend money on eBooks. However won’t do evil DRM as it gets in the way of READING eBooks and if I can’t read it don’t want to buy it.

  18. As probably your most loyal fan who has not only never read one of your books, but who isn’;t really sure what you write about… I should like totally get a free book without the indignity of whatever that silly contest/sign-up thingy is about.

  19. Oh.. my bad… that was easy as pie.

    Although…as a non sci-fi person….I’ll add that- should I suddenly start getting Martian spam- the finger is going to be pointing pretty much directly at you…. and it won’t be the pinky.

    My earlier point still stands, btw.

  20. So that’s more free text cluttering my computer…

    Well, I don’t know that I shall like your story, or your style of writing, but I greatly appreciate the chance of finding out.

    (Replacement ancient laptop–there’s room for more clutter, and my wallet is in hiding after the new battery.)

  21. I can’t register. I get the following message:

    We cannot register you at this time, but please check back in a few weeks for some great science fiction. Thanks!

    Honest I’m a good person! I’ve bought Old Man’s War in dead tree format and everything! :)

  22. Scalzi- have you perpetrated a DOS on the registration server? Fiendishly clever of you, our esteemed overlord! “Their server has been Whatevered” – a concept that shall heretofore have legendary status. ;P
    I’ll be signing up as soon as they’re back online.

  23. #1 and #28:

    Not only is “12345″ a valid zip code for Schenectady NY, but it’s assigned only to the GE main plant – which was the model for Vonnegut’s “Ilium Works” in Player Piano.

    (Unfortunately, 12345 is NOT the home of the famous “Post Office Box in Schenectady” where you can write away to get those crazy ideas. That service is provided over in 12303.)

    Oh, and great news about the eBook. Thanks to all who helped make it happen.

  24. Awesome news on the eBook–I unfortunately haven’t been able to get to a book store in a long time, and while I’ve been meaning to get OMW, I haven’t. This should give me the opportunity, and the incentive to actually buy it/the rest of the books in the series.

  25. Great news, I already saw an announcement elsewhere and signed up… There’s been some discussion that Tor was going to resume their deal with Baen to distribute some of their titles through Webscriptions, I hope to be able to buy your other books there soon :-) (I do most of my reading through ebooks these days, more convenient, although we keep adding paper copies as well, but we’re about to need to buy a new house to have room for more bookshelves).

  26. Hey, I read “Agent to the Stars” from the library. It was a special edition of 1500 numbered copies (this one was 26)

    It was a fun read. Thought I could see all the twists and turns in advance but you zig-zagged enough so I didn’t see the end coming.

    Keep writing…and please, I’m wanting more space battles. Space Battles. More space battles are better than more cowbell.

  27. I was looking for this book in electronic format last week! I’m a regular customer over at Baen’s site (for several years, actually … bought a book the first day it opened :) and I’ve been wondering when other publishers would get into the act. Glad to see it’s finally happening.

  28. Just wanted to say thanks for the free e-book! I have it in paperback but when I travel I love to read. I plan to read Old Man’s War on my next trip to California.

  29. I used my UK post code and the site seemed to have no trouble with it. I’ve already bought a paper copy of Old Man’s War but an ebook version should be very handy – just ordered a little ASUS EEE and plan to use it as a book reader on the train. Thanks for the link!

  30. It is sad to see folks helping the big publishing houses
    seduce people into media that *they* do not control. Sure,
    they’ll start with some e-book freebies. Once they get folks
    addicted, they’ll force folks into DRM for sequels, etc.

    Imagine only be able to read a book so many times. Imagine
    NOT being able to pass a book along to a friend.

    I won’t digress into the dark realm of big brother. I also
    abhor anyone who contributes to this nastiness. Shame
    on you!

  31. Anonymous Libertarian:

    You haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about in this particular case.

  32. What Scalzi said. This is not a scheme designed to seduce people into DRM. Anyone who knows how I feel about DRM would laugh at the idea.

    Believe it or not, it’s part of a general initiative bent toward figuring out how to use our skills, earn our livings, and do cool stuff in the world of the future internet. I won’t make wild claims that we won’t make any mistakes (or that we’re not making any right now!), and I certainly don’t blame people for wondering what’s the catch. But “Anonymous Libertarian” is full of crap.

    And what’s with the “anonymous”, anyway? I thought libertarians were all brave tough guys with big guns. You’re scared of a bunch of publishing people knowing your name? Pussy.

  33. The Tor registration page has been mentioned on Slashdot (I didn’t do it! :) ) so expect it to be busy… Perhaps out of the kazillion people signing up for their ‘free book’ you’ll acquire a corps of new readers to inflate your daughter’s college fund. Watch the back catalogue sales!

  34. @Kate Nepveu: I don’t received anything, so I suppose that it’s all right.

    @Anonymous Libertarian: I prefer paper books over ebooks, I occasionally buy ebooks from Baen’s Webscription because they’re convenient (read: cheap, without DRM, and they arrive in Italy way faster than a parcel from a foreign country), the inconvenience of DRM greatly overcomes those advantages, so the choice is obvious: the day they should eventually start forcing DRM I’ll remove the site from my bookmarks.

  35. the day they should eventually start forcing DRM I’ll remove the site from my bookmarks.

    Ah-ehm. With “they” I mean “Tor people.”

  36. Patrick Nielsen Hayden writes:
    Pussy.

    This is a blog where it’s okay to use woman-parts as a cheap insult?

    Or did he mean the A.L. is a warm, furry companion animal?

    Just wonderin’.

  37. Susan:

    It’s certainly a blog where you can complain about someone using woman-parts as a cheap insult. Feel free to call PNH a dick for doing so.

  38. I found a way around the error: “We cannot register you at this time, but please check back in a few weeks for some great science fiction. Thanks!”

    Try using a different browser and/or fiddling with your javascript settings. The Opera browser worked for me.

  39. #14 Opiwan writes:

    “But what if I want my e-book SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR??? What am I supposed to do then?”

    Then you have to have a wonderful friend named Mary (http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com) who knows the author and who decides OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF HER HEART to get him to sign a copy for you and mail it to you.

    I have the best friends.

  40. I’ve been waiting as patiently as possible all day … despite having one of the tabs on my browser set to refresh my gmail account every 5 minutes ;o) No sign of an email from Tor yet, argh!

  41. Hi Guys,

    I believe the plan is that everyone will get an email with the link to the first book this Friday. Then you’ll be contacted once a week with links for that week’s offering until we are live.

  42. Irene … that being the case, they should probably change the following line on their website: “Within a day or so of sending us your address, you should receive an email with a download link for this week’s free book.” :o)

  43. Nice to see someone besides baen jumping on the DRM free ebook market. More food for the pda and 2hour bus trip to work.

  44. Thanks for the tip. Hopefully I got in early enough to read Mistborn. I have Elantris, but I’m interested in reading more from the guy that’s going to finish the wheel of time series.

    Also, I just want to point out that I am very annoyed that I checked Whatever just one post to early to see this yesterday. Arg!

  45. I’m waiting for my link.

    If Tor can follow the Baen model (either through webscriptions or separately) I’ll be more than happy to vote Tor through my wallet.

    I like the books and the company. I love ebooks. I can’t stand DRM.

  46. This would be a whole lot cooler if they didn’t just say ‘thank you for registering’ without actually, y’know, sending out a newsletter and a free ebook.

    This does not make me happy.

  47. Looks like the emails were sent early am Friday US time – I got mine 1812h Friday evening in NZ (GMT+13).

    Format of downloaded file is a pdf which includes cover, maps, 5 pages of book 2 etc. Chapters are bookmarked.

    Thanks Tor, Brandon Sanderson and the others involved.

  48. As previously mentioned, the pdf also contains no DRM … according to the document properties, you’ve got permission to do everything, including printing.

    Kudos to Tor & the authors participating in the ebook drive! :o)

  49. One item to remark on for future improvement: The filename. It’s just a long string of numbers, for this book. Nothing descriptive at all.

    Baen went through this issue, too, where the filename was just numbers and letters, which I’m sure made sense to their relational database, but doesn’t make much sense to normal people.

    This isn’t a complaint, I’m just pointing out an opportunity for excellence! :o)

  50. I got my link– haven’t downloaded it because I’m not on the right system and am not likely to be able to get to it until tonight.

    The number Baen used was the ISBN which is the unique catalog number of the book– so it makes sense to use it even if it’s not that easy to for a human to make sense of.

    I do hope they branch out into better formats once the full system goes live, though PDF isn’t my favorite, though so long as it’s not DRM’d I can live with it.

  51. I received it too. PDF is not my preferred format, but if there’s no DRM a format conversion to something more versatile (html, odt) shouldn’t be to complex.
    As long as I don’t redistribute the file it should even be legal, I suppose.

  52. Gianluca:

    God knows I don’t care if you put Old Man’s War into another format for your own personal use.

  53. Should I be upset that I fall into the last age category (30+)? That’s the first time I can ever remember that happening…. Argh.

  54. The “cannot register at this time” seems to be a Firefox issue. John, maybe you could mention this to Tor? Bit annoying to need to open a different browser…

    And yay! Free e-books! Thanks!

  55. I appreciate Tor making this ebook available since the news on BoingBoing prompts me to make a note to buy the hard copy – a note I should have done when BoingBoing mentioned Old Man’s War the first time (I’m in that 30+ demo; I lose information that isn’t backed up to external memory). Two hours earlier and I could have added it to my online BAM order.

    I am kind of amazed (amused) that publishers still don’t get ebooks – ironic in a speculative fiction imprint’s case.

  56. send this book through post my address is
    JAIK C.J
    CHACKALACKAL HOUSE 3/73
    A.R NAIR COLONY
    KUNNATHURMEDU P.O
    PALAKKAD
    KERALA
    INDIA
    PIN:678013

  57. Actually, “mailing an e-book to India” seems like it would have the makings of a potential Best of 08 post. A dozen-or-so 5.5-inch floppies would be the ideal medium for the project.

  58. As some people indicated above, the website says a day or two to get the link. I’ve been waiting for 4 or 5 and gotten nothing. Tried resubmitting, and on a second email address. Are the email links in fact going out only once a week?

  59. A friend and I just got the email and downloaded it, while yapping on the phone with each other. Just as in about 15 minutes ago. We are also playing three scrabulous games with each other and planning our Denvention activities, so we have our geek on. But my point…If the email goes out only once a week, a person should have it. The email was time stamped 9:56 PM Alaska time.

    Formats were PDF, HTML, and mobi.

    I’m babbling, I need to go to sleep. G’night.

  60. The myspace page linked in the email has a slideshow with these titles:

    Jane Lindskold, Through’s Wolf Eyes
    John Scalzi, Old Man’s War
    Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire
    Joe Walton, Farthing
    Cherie Priest, Four and Twenty Blackbirds
    David Drake, Lord of the Isles
    Charles Stross, The Family Trade

    Then there’s Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson, who will be released next week.
    The email says that there will be 12 free ebooks, so there still are 4 unknown ebooks.

  61. The titles list is simply awesome! I’m going to add many more books to my own “to buy” list, now… ;-)

    BTW, may I take the opportunity to add that I would be just as happy to buy a lot of SF ebooks in non-DRM’d format, if that’s a move Tor intends to make.

    I’m in a country where foreign SF books are often either a) translated after several years, or b) not translated at all if they are not best-sellers. I do read english (and enjoy it), but said books can be difficult to acquire in the original language in dead tree form, due to shipping delays and costs. So ebooks are a very nice solution for me. These days, when I’m hearing about a new english language author or title, my first thought is to check Fictionwise for an e-copy.

  62. Ah-ehm. I made some transcription’s errors.

    It’s ” Through Wolf‘s Eyes”, and I really hope that Jo Walton can forgive me. :(

  63. I got my email today and downloaded the PDF. I read the first four chapters before heading to work rather than doing all the little jobs that my other half left me, and I’m continuing to read it at work during my breaks.

    You got me at the first sentence, but Chapter Five has ensured I will most definitely be buying your other stuff. Man, you can write!

    I suspect I’m not going to achieve too much at work today. I don’t need a book to achieve that but thank you for making my procrastination so bloody entertaining today ;¬)

  64. While it’s great to have the books for free, I do think they’re missing a trick – I read OMW some time ago, but now that I come back to it & find there are subsequent novels in the same ‘series’, I’d like to get them as ebooks (Sony or MS .lit) – I expect I’ll weaken & get them from Amazon at some stage, though…

  65. So, I wonder if Tor realizes that March 9-15th is Read An E-Book Week? Maybe, if someone brought it to their attention, they’d like to release another free e-book for that week?

    Rita Toews
    Founder, Read An E-Book Week.

  66. Since Tor’s eBook program is running for 12 weeks, it seems likely they will have a book available that week.

  67. John, I need to make a bit of a correction on the date of Read An E-Book Week. It’s actually March 2 – 8, 2008. Have Tor contact me if they want to post word of a free download on the Read An E-Book site. Good advertising for them as it gets word out about their e-book line.

  68. Thank you sir. I do enjoy reading, but I find I don’t take chances often (spending money) on authors I’m unfamiliar with. Have been meaning to sacrifice my daughters future to benefit yours by purchasing Old Man’s War but just haven’t gotten around to it.

    Thanks for doing this and allowing yourself to get your hooks into my soul… thereby furthering your daughter’s future anyway. :)

  69. Dear John,

    I loved the first two books of yours about the old man and the special unit clone. I was highly tempted to download the third book of the series, but, since reading this post i definitly won’t.

    On the other hand, you should be really proud of yourself: People read your books as an nasty pdf rip on their little screens :-) E-book reading can be really really annoying and unhealthy after all, but this olny proves that your writing is very good.

    Probably something your Daugter and the rest of your family wouldnt find that funny at this moment.

    Wish you all the best in upcoming year of 2009!

    Greetings from Vienna,
    Austria

  70. It’s been almost a year. Do the links still exist? Is it still possible to download these e-books from the Tor site? I can’t find a link. I wish I had discovered you as an author a little earlier.

  71. I’m trying to find this wonderful book for reading in my iPhone. Does anyone know of a site to buy it from?

    I tried Tor, but could not find anything there.

  72. I’m ashamed… I got old man’s war from TPB, but… hey, I bought the others. Seriously I just saw your book on one of these lists of si-fi downloads, never heard about you anywhere. If not for the lawless internet I wouldnt have had the chance of reading your work.

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