Cover by Pablo DefendiniAt, Stefan Raets has written an interesting look at Cory Doctorow’s group-funded self-published book project With a Little Help. (We mentioned it back in October.) The project is a short story collection, published as a Creative Commons project with various limited-edition versions aimed at collectors, and less-expensive DRM-free electronic and audio versions aimed at people who prefer them.

Doctorow has a history of releasing e-books for free under CC licenses at the same time as he publishes print editions for pay.

Some people will say “despite,” and others will say “thanks to,” but whichever way you spin it, he’s done remarkably well releasing his stuff for free and at the same time selling an impressive amount of books.

This time, he’s releasing the e-book and audiobook on a pay-what-you-want-when-you-want basis: you can choose to pay before or after you download. I’ve been fine with downloading Doctorow’s books for free in the past—in fact, he didn’t want donations for them, since it would cut his publisher out of the loop—but I think I’ll chip in at least a couple of bucks if I download this one. It’s only polite.

Doctorow also posts his complete financial results every so often. As of February 14, four months after the project’s launch, he had netted $12,131.44 on revenues of $32,267.87 and expenses of $20,136.43. That works out to about $3,000 of profit per month, which is more money than I’m making right now in my day job. Certainly enough to eat on if it were his only source of income, which it is definitely not.

I’ve read a few of the stories in the book. Some were not really to my taste, while others were fantastic. I look forward to reading the rest.


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