Innovation That Matters

Books for free by podcast

Publishing & Media

Given the lifestyle changes wrought by electronic media, it’s no surprise that book publishers have begun experimenting with new ways to publish their works. We’ve recently looked at efforts to sell books in bite-size chunks as downloads or via e-mail and RSS, but many have also become available as free podcasts via Arizona-based has actually been around for a few years already, having launched in 2005, and it now lays claim to more than 41,000 members. Users of the site receive episodes or chapters of any book on a schedule of their choosing, and can then listen to them on their computer, transfer the DRM-free audio files to their MP3 player or burn them to CD or other media—all free of charge. A combination of advertising and listener donations support the service, which passes on 75 percent of all donated funds to authors. Since the 2005 publication of Scott Sigler’s “EarthCore,” which the company says was the world’s first podcast-only novel, has grown to include 3,913 episodes of 184 titles available for download. All books are distributed with the express permission of the authors, many of whom participate in the interests of marketing and exposure. Early reports of the book’s demise were greatly exaggerated, as has been amply proven by the success of the Harry Potter series, among others. But with new media and devices like Amazon’s Kindle, the question now is what other forms it might assume. Music has already become available in a variety of formats; now it’s books’ turn. There’s no arguing with choice! Or with free. Much more on the rise of no-price in our sister-site’s current briefing: FREE LOVE. Spotted by: Murtaza Ali Patel



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