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  • Lost in Translation

    People who pay attention to publishing and e-books may have heard the news that German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute (the birthplace of the MP3) recently unveiled a text-watermarking scheme called "SiDiM" that creates individually indentifiable versions of e-books by making small, randomized text substitutions throughout the book.

  • I Can't Let You Do That, Dave

    In my new novel, Homeland, the sequel to Little Brother, I explore what happens to people when their computers don’t listen to them anymore.

  • Cory Doctorow: How Writers Lose When 'Piracy' Gets Harder

    How much will your publisher pay you? As little as they can.

  • Doubling Down on DRM

    It’s hard to say what’s more shocking to me: the temerity of Hachette to attempt to dictate terms to its rivals on the use of anti-customer technology, or the evidence-free insistence that DRM has some nexus with improving the commercial fortunes of writers and their publishers.

  • With a Little Help: Publishing’s Virtue

    Pity the poor antipiracy pitchman. Digital media means perfect copying, and most pirate goods are now of comparable quality to the official release, and often superior to the commercial alternative. Pirated e-books, for example, can be easily converted to any format, for any player. And pirated games don’t include antipiracy technology that force-quits your game every time your network connection bobbles.

  • A Whip to Beat Us With

    Apple makes some pretty cool products. If you’ve spent any time stuck in the Microsoft Office world, Apple’s office products—Keynote, Pages, and Numbers—are a revelation. The best part is you can open MS Office files with Apple’s products, and save them into Apple’s format, or many others.

  • With A Little Help: Digital Lysenkoism

    Talking with the lower echelon employees of publishing reminds me of a description I once read about the mutual embarrassment of Western and Soviet biologists when they talked about genetics. Soviet-era scientists were required, on pain of imprisonment, to endorse Lysenkoism, a discredited theory of inheritance favored by Stalin for ideological reasons.

  • Cory Doctorow: Copyrights vs. Human Rights

    December 10 is Human Rights Day, as designated by the U.N. General Assembly and observed all over the world. In honor of the occasion, I want to address the human rights implications associated with something central to all of us in the publishing industry: copyright policy.

  • With a Little Help: Now at Your Library

    It's been nine months since the launch of With a Little Help, and, as with most trade books, the action has slowed down. All in all, the book has earned me $2,231.23 over the summer and cost me $167.88 in costs.

  • With A Little Help: Heuristics

    Readers just don't know in advance what's worth paying for. Is the book by an author you've heard of? An author you've read? An author you've seen reviewed?

  • With a Little Help: Hitting My Stride

    When I first conceived of this project, I found myself idly coming up with great new wrinkles on my plan every day. By the time the project was live and the book was for sale, my idle moments had become brutal self-criticism sessions in which I lambasted myself for making stupid mistakes. But , none of my mistakes were terminal.

  • With A Little Help: The Early Returns

    At the time of my last column, I was in a three-quarters panic about the book: negotiations with Lulu and my agent had bogged down in miscommunication; Christmas was fast approaching; and I was about to go in for hip surgery. So, what happened? Literally a day after writing that column, I simply launched the book.

  • Zen and the Art of Self-Publishing

    I write these words on a Friday having just recently finished and sent off my next YA novel, Pirate Cinema, to all the agents, editors, friends, first readers, and fact-checkers who've been awaiting it. I believe it is a good novel. In fact, I believe it is my best novel to date.

  • With a Little Twitter Help

    I'm back from my Australian, German, and Dutch tours, and though I've since given three talks, worked on a novel, and delivered two columns in a week, mostly what I've been noodling with is the With a Little Help launch.

  • With A Little Help: Production!

    It's here at last—just before I left for my August Internet-free holiday, I managed to produce the first prototype of the limited hardcover edition of With a Little Help.

  • Doctorow's First Law

    With a Little Help is on track for a September release. The printer has found the right paper; the binder is ready to do a test binding; and all is well on Earth. I know, I said July—and I could have launched in July—but that would have meant interrupting the launch with a monthlong, Internet-free family holiday in August, right around the time I get back from the World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, Australia, and my subsequent German and Dutch tours.

  • With a Little Help: New York, Meet Silicon Valley

    There's no progress to report on the short story collection this month, beyond a key lesson about being the writer and publisher of a book—when "the writer" goes on a book tour, "the publisher" doesn't get to do production work.

  • Closing In

    When I launched this column, the plan was to have copies of With a Little Help into final production by October 2009, and to have it for sale by Christmas. Instead, I find myself in the final throes of production in early May, with a likely pub date of June or July 2010. How'd that happen?

  • With a Little Help: The Price Is Right

    First, a progress report: With a Little Help is going great guns behind the scenes. Meanwhile, the mysteries of price and profit are on everyone's minds these days thanks to the Macmillan-Amazon spat, with commentators on both sides of the debate drawing parallels to the train wreck of a decade the recording industry just went through.

  • With a Little Help: Time and Money

    The human brain's capacity for underestimating workload and complexity is probably a feature, not a bug: whether you're raising a kid or starting a company, chances are you erred on the side of optimism when you anticipated the work associated.

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