35 thoughts on “Random House Giving Away SF/F Book Downloads

  1. Yay! Free books! And I prefer my books in PDF form, so I can make them work on all my tech.

  2. Awesome, I’ve been reading to read both Red Mars and His Majesty’s Dragons. Also if anyone hasn’t read Assassin’s Apprentice yet I highly recommend it.

  3. Good: Download a sample, although I already have boughten eCopies of several of these.

    Bad: Series books do better when all of the books are available in the same format, including eBooks. Many of the series books linked to are not available as eBooks, and when you do try to get the ebook, you have to jump through hoops to find the link to ebook retailers such as fictionwise.

    Ugly: eBooks available for sale are DRM-infested.

    This is pretty clearly one of those good ideas that may fail because it wasn’t fully thought through.

  4. Great… More literature to my pile-of-books-to-be-readed… Today is a pile of 8 year old tall; tomorrow… who knows… Anyway, thanks for the link John. I will fire up some old friends to make time in my agenda. Anyway, human friends are overestimated… Welcome my precious!!!

  5. Nice, thanks for the heads up John.

    For those of you wanting another format check out Stanza and Calibre which can both convert PDFs to other formats (note, I’ve not tried either on these files).

    Yeah, these are series intros… that’s OK. After all, they’re FREE… there has to be some hook and the hook’s obvious – increase sales of other books in the series.

    DRM annoys me on a philiosophical level and because I can’t use DRMed ebooks on my old Nokia 770… but I understand why publishers are leery of non-drmed books whereas I never did get the issue for music companies. After all, the latter could alwasy be easily ripped into a non-DRM form. The former can’t. So if there’s no non-DRM version made available the whole Napster cycle will be much harder to start for books.

  6. PDFs are fine but these look like scans from books. If they had used the electronic files used for printing and just converted them to pdf, they would have come out cleaner.

  7. I’ve got 8GB of spare storage card on my Sony PRS-505.

    Though if they’re scans and won’t reformat, it won’t be quite as easy. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  8. They’re all text (the text is not a graphic that is), but the Red Mars cover looks scanned. The Novik and Turtledove are from the QuarkXpress file. I’ll be converting them to a format I can use later, but so far these don’t look bad (aside from Red Mars which I had to resave from Reader.

  9. Shawn: that depends on the reader. While the Kindle makes you go through a conversion step, the Sony eReader lets you just copy things onto a memory card.

    One caveat: I am a Sony employee, albeit not one who worked on the eReader.

  10. PDF for the loss. Will have to revisit later to see if they offer other formats.

    My Blackberry would love to have more than Baen but alas there is no love.

  11. Ooh, more books! [jumps and down, clapping manaically] Now I can pretend that my TBR pile isn’t growing, since electronic copies don’t take up space on the bedside table. Nor can they be knocked to the ground by cats. On the other hand, they’re tough to read in the tub.

  12. Thanks for the head’s up! I suffered a recent hard drive crash, so I lost of all the free downloads offered by Tor with their new website launch. Here’s to rebuilding my e-library!

  13. Nom nom nom
    It is like Xmas early for me this week. First Amazon opens my Kindle up to my and hubby’s phones, then I get free books!

  14. Many thanks to Random House for putting these up! A few minor notes:

    The Turtledove PDF appears to have a cover scanned from another book in the series (In at the Death).

    There doesn’t appear to be any landing page for individual books that has a link to the complete PDF. (The book description pages link to an excerpt, but don’t appear to mention the free PDFs.) So for the Online Books Page listings (which will appear in the next hour) I’m linking directly to the Akamai node that’s showing up in my view of the Suvudu page. I hope this doesn’t unbalance the load too much. (I gather different locations are often served by different Akamai nodes.) Fortunately, the files aren’t more than a few MB each.

  15. Hmm, I will have ot look at these again after I get off work and am on my own internet connection. Free books are good, especially as 2-3 of these are ones that I’m already vaugely interested in. However DRM and PDF files are major dealbreakers for me.

    I tend to split my reading 75% on my Nokia n800, 25% on my laptop. My laptop has a big enough screen the pdf’s don’t look to bad. Unfortunately my preferred reader has a much smaller screen. Most e-book formats preserve the content, but allow the presentation to change. Specifically they allow reflowing the text so it fits the screen at whatever font size you choose.

  16. I’m not aware of any DRM on the free books; these appear to be standard PDFs, which display quite nicely on my laptop. You can even cut and paste text from them.

    The comment upthread about DRM applied not to these editions, but to books in the series that were being sold in DRM-encumbered formats, as far as I can tell.

  17. Free books are always of interest, so thank you for the link.
    Still … Ewwww … pdf files!! Yet they may be useful, in their way. If i get through a couple of chapters without wanting to throw the computer across the room, I might decide to see if there are any _real_ ebook versions available.

    (Pdf sucks!!!)

  18. Dr Phil – Have you tried the freeware Book Designer software? I have the same Sony Reader model as you and that software works brilliantly with it.
    Means books I haven’t been able to purchase in Sony Reader or other compatible format I can convert.

  19. Yay! Free reads! Thanks you. As to the gift-horse-gob-criticisers, come on – free stuff! Show a bit of good grace. I mean, really.

  20. Thanks for the link, John! I’m really glad they’re doing this, and glad my book Blood Engines is a part of it.

    As for formats beyond PDF — I agree that would be nice, and maybe they’ll get there in time. My book is also available free for the Kindle and the Kindle iPhone app, here (at least for now):

    http://is.gd/lPyh

  21. Thanks for the link, John! And kudos to Random House for giving away the free books.

    Too bad it’s PDF, though, and an annoyingly low resolution. I guess it’s more an incentive to try reading and buy if you like the first pages or chapters.

    BTW, I tested the format conversion with Calibre, but it seems impossible. The files are secure PDF, protected against modification by ordinary methods. So Kindle owners may be screwed.

  22. Excellent. I’ve got no problem with PDF files – especially since I switched from Adobe to Foxit. My issue is I’ve already read three of these (note to Novik: DRAGONS AREN’T PONIES!). Which leaves Turtledove, who I have no interest in, and Mr. Pratt – who I will now happily download.

  23. @ Tim Pratt: I take back a part of what I wrote earlier about low resolution PDF. I downloaded Blood Engines and found that the file is actually pretty good quality. Nice job on Random’s part, there.

    But two other titles, Robinson’s Red Mars and Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, are not something I would read on a screen or even an e-reader.

  24. Woo! Free ebooks!

    I’m another Sony user and I also recommend BookDesigner. It handles pdfs just fine and spits out a format that doesn’t take up nearly as much space on my memory card!

  25. Hmm…. the Red Mars PDF is odd. Seems to be regular text with properly embedded fonts… but the text does not look smooth. Ah well, off to convert anyway.

  26. @Steve Burnap (#11) — I actually have a Sony PRS-505. But with PDF, if you just copy it you have to look at a whole page at a time. Very tiny print.

    Again, I’m not complaining at free, but when Tor gave away books (including Old Man’s War), they offered several versions. With calibre, converting them was a piece of cake. :)

  27. Well it is working for Random House.

    The #3 book on Amazon in Scifi& Fantasy is Red Mars.

    Found out via RSS feed.

  28. And just noticed Assassin’s Apprentice is #4.

    Congrats to Random House.

    But remember free ebooks do not work. Nope. Never going to make more sales. Nope.. no way.

    Uh huh…

    Luddites

  29. I highly recommend His Majesty’s Dragon and Assassin’s Apprentice. I haven’t read the others.

    I don’t have an ebook reader, and I’m not a fan of reading on a laptop screen. But I did see an itouch in person today, so now I’m tempted.

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