Booze for Free PDF

Andy Hamilton

Brewer, forager, broadcaster, spaceman occasional liar

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8 Responses

  1. Ali says:

    I feel your pain. Nobody likes to have their work sold for less than its worth. And my publishers are like the CIA in rights management and tracking people down (and they sue people for lost revenue).

    There’s an issue in the maths though. How many of those 2,000 downloads were people who might not have paid for the book, so it’s hard to work out the lost revenue. Others may have wanted the book, but couldn’t buy it in their market (this is a serious issue with the internet). Then, some of them are just people who wanted the book, could have bought it and decided to steal it instead.

    Its a tricky issue, but one that authors need to be concerned with.

  2. Hello there Ali and thanks for the comments.

    The stuff you publish is academic so it does tend to be sold at a much higher price so I can understand the CIA approach, there is much more to loose.

    Yes, you are right about the readers. We released the ebook almost straight away so that people could have a copy and not have to pirate it. I’m lucky as my book is being sold in many territories so hopefully anyone that wants one can buy one.

    Again, you are right too about us authors we should be concerned our future income depends on it!

  3. Mark Boyle says:

    Great blog Andy. It’s a complex issue, isn’t it. I’m releasing my new book on a creative commons licence, and doing a free version online. Its a similar approach to that which Charles Eisenstein (whose not a Paulo Coelho type, much more interesting and insightful than that!) has taken, and one which I think is the way forward in publishing and life in general.

    His experience is that when you offer it to people for free (as well as a normal paper copy), it actually inspires people to want to support your work in some way, either by buying a hard copy (for themselves or a friend) or by giving a donation. People on his site read it and often make a donation to him – what he calls “a return gift” – if they found it valuable, and sometimes it’s more than an author would ever charge for a book. Plus, those who genuinely can’t afford it can also read it for free, so no false scarcity has been created around the information (the mechanisms of the monetary economy, by the way, create this false scarcity in the first place by removing us from the land, from being able to construct a simple home, by forcing us onto the conveyor belt of industrialised civilisation.)

    I was also chatting to an editor of a prominent magazine last week, and they’ve had a similar experience. They decided to give away articles and so on for free on the net, and for the first time their enterprise is financially viable.

    The other element in the debate is that what if you found your curtains on freecycle, the plumber for your shower on freeconomy etc? What if you gave the book to people in the spirit of the gift and had your own needs met in the same spirit. A good example of this economic model is nature, and we’d do well do model our own economy on it. When I piss under a tree, I don’t charge it for nitrogen. Similarly, it doesn’t charge me for oxygen. That would be absurd and highly bureaucratic, right? Good for accountants and lawyers, but not great for ecological systems and those who want a simple life.

    Anyway, just thought I’d throw in my twopence worth! Good blogpost, I think its a conversation that needs to be had, publishing is an industry which isn’t sure which way its going at the mo.

    And thanks for doing what you do Andy, and for raising the question in an honest and genuine way.

  4. Cheers for your comments Mark, hope all is well.

    It will be very interesting to see how well your book does and its certainly one to watch. Although, I wonder if the first few people who give away their books for free will benefit as they will gain more publicity for doing so? The real test might be a five years time when loads of people are doing it. I mean there are youtube videos that we love but never pay for. I dont’ think the Star Wars kid has any money.

    I supose it depends on the value society thinks we as writers are worth and what they are prepared to give. Some of the books available on the kindle for free, (for instance), are not that well written or edited. When writers no longer get paid for their work and they can’t afford copy editors then will the work be inferior as a result? Mind you there are plenty of works that just weren’t comercially viable so never got published, this doesn’t mean that they weren’t great books. Perhaps we could even start to see some better books that are written, “for the love it”. But then I know Dickens wrote for money and so did Shakespeare, would authors stick to just one book if the insentive was taken away? I don’t have the anwsers I’m afraid, but I do know that my output would diminish were I not to be paid for it. But if that payment came in donations for readers, well I’d happily take that too!

    As for the curtains, a friend of a friend makes curtains and we were hoping to get her to make us some. The shower will end up being fixed by me I think, but we will still have to buy parts for it and if we bought second hand I can’t see them lasting forever. I get your point and in many circumstances you can go down the free route for things (such as sofas, tellys and computers) but in this instance I’m afraid I can’t see that as an option.

    Anyway, thanks for keeping the debate going mate.

  5. Mark Boyle says:

    All good points Andy. No easy answers to some of these ones. I’d recommend reading Charles Eisenstein’s The Ascent of Humanity and/or Sacred Economics. We’re at a tricky point in history – most of us want a much better world than this to some degree or other, yet we’re all faced with reality.

    Would the standard and frequency of writing drop with the “incentive” of money? In the cultural narrative of our society, that’s probably likely, but your guess is as good as mine. In a cultural narrative where people work because they want to spend their days creating the most incredible works of art they can, then I’d guess the opposite. It comes down to what a culture values in some ways. Anthropologists such as David Graeber have a lot to say about what worked really well in societies of the past, and it is the opposite of what we believe today. Highly recommend “Debt: The first 5,000 years” too.

    By the way I don’t think Dickens or Shakespeare wrote for money. Sure, without doubt they good paid for it, but I think those two wrote because the words would have otherwise burned them from the inside out. I think to them the payment was a bonus, and the art primary. I’m purely speculating though. Thanks Andy.

  6. That’s very good of you to say that it should be paid for, I aprechiate that Amanda! Fair point too about the accesability and I’d love to be able just stick it up and let people pay what they wanted. Trouble is, in order that I could afford to write it I got an advance and that means I sold the world rights (or rather my agent did). So, I don’t think my contract allows me to do that. I will try and get up a link for a worldwide Ebook if such a thing exisits. Thanks very much for posting and sorry you couldn’t get the book as a present. If you email me perhaps I could see about getting a signed one sent over to you?

  1. September 28, 2012

    […] what you use in this recipe, if you can’t get all the ingredients. When researching my book (Booze for Free) I made many variations and as long as you use some elderberries and either grapes, raisins or half […]

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