Peter Darbyshire, author and columnist for Vancouver’s The Province, has decided to set free his first novel, Please, by making it downloadable from his website. Please, which was originally published by Raincoast in 2002, won the ReLit Award for Best Novel, as well as the K.M. Hunter Award for Best Emerging Artist. On his blog, Darbyshire writes that he decided to make the book freely available because copies of it were becoming hard to come by through traditional retail channels. (Though it is still technically available online at Amazon and elsewhere.)
More and more authors, such as Cory Doctorow, are opting for the free route right off the bat, figuring that a wide readership is better than the paltry income likely to come from a regular publishing deal. Setting free a book that has gone out of print or that has dropped out of sight retail-wise seems to be an even easier decision to make, one that could potentially give a book a second life, albeit a likely non-remunerative one.
Letting go of anything is tough, however, and perfect-binding is probably tougher to let go of than most.