Electronic Editions, or, I Can’t Believe I’ve Not Put This Up Already
Because at this point I’m getting a couple of e-mails a day on the matter and need something to direct people to:
Yes, I have eBooks available: Old Man’s War, Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream and Zoe’s Tale are available on Amazon Kindle, and Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale are available in other formats as well, and you can buy them at places people buy electronic books. Agent to the Stars is available on this site in html format (although not in the most recent, copy-edited, cultural-references-updated version, which will be available in October in trade paperback).
No, I don’t know when the other novels will be available/will be available in a format other than Kindle/will be available in the format you’ve determined that you love the most and have vowed never to cheat on with any other electronic format. This is because it’s not up to me, it’s up to Tor (and my other publishers), and who knows when they will get around to doing any of this. They kind of do their own thing, you know? I’ve asked them if they might not consider getting the other books out in eBook format sooner rather than later, if only so I don’t have to keep answering e-mail on the subject. Sending me e-mail/comments on the subject does nothing, I’m sorry to say. Sending me repeated e-mails/comments on the subject will just annoy me. Send your e-mail to Tor. Tor loves to get e-mail.
No, you don’t have to send me a several-paragraph-long e-mail explaining why ebooks are good/why you only read in ebook format/how I’m losing millions of dollars or whatever by not having the books in an ebook format. Because I know/good for you/oh well. I find it vaguely amusing, since I’ve had a complete novel up on my site for nine years now, that people feel the need to try to convince me that having ebooks out there might be a good thing. I find it amusing like I find people trying to offer me advice on how I should change my published books to make them better amusing, which is to say it’s the sort of amused that is lucky I don’t have a chainsaw handy.
No, I don’t need a lecture on DRM’d eBook files. This is another one to send Tor’s way. I generally think DRM is useless, and my publishers know this is my opinion. But the number of people who complain about not having particular titles of mine as eBooks is larger than the number who complain about DRM on the eBooks of mine that are out there, and in both cases it’s not up to me at this point, and to a non-trivial extent, I just don’t fucking care. Yes, Cory Doctorow will excommunicate me for that statement, but you know, there are perfectly excellent non-DRM’d versions of my works available: They’re called books. Buy those and then scan them in, or whatever. I won’t tell.
And yes, I know I sound a little cranky. But look: Fact is, authors actually have very little to do with the distribution of their work once book contracts are signed. Indeed, that’s one of the major reasons we sign book contracts at all: so all the boring crap about the book business will be someone else’s problem, and we can focus on the only thing we’re actually good at, re: writing. I recognize that in some cases folks don’t know this, and think that that author is always in control of everything about the book, so this is me telling you: No, not really. I’m a bubble-burster, I know.
Edit: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, my editor at Tor, has further thoughts in the comment thread.