26 June 2006

Search Me, Mate

The Amazon.com pages for Of the City of the Saved... now contain, it seems, the entire contents of the novel, from copyright notice to back blurb. (WARNING: not every page of same is necessarily work-safe or child-friendly. Nor was it ever meant to be, frankly.)

The same is true of The Book of the War and the other Faction Paradox novels.

"Surprise Me!", it says. Well, yes, now you come to mention it.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. From a legal point of view it's unassailable, since it's evidently been done with the permission of Mad Norwegian Press, who in accordance with normal U.S. practice for shared-universe novels hold the copyright in the text. On the other hand, I have grave reservations about any online content provider archiving entire scanned texts of in-copyright works (I'm equally dubious about Google Book Search), and I can't help feeling even more so when the text in question is one I spent a year writing.

I can't currently see that there'd be any impediment in place to a sufficiently dedicated reader doing repeated searches until they'd managed to access, and thus read, every page in the book without paying for it. It would be a lot of hassle, but it would be free -- and while my browser at least refuses to cache or print the pages in question, I know too much about computer geekdom to suppose that workarounds for these restrictions don't exist.

And, while free access to information may well be very admirable and demotic in an anarchist sort of way, somebody doing such a thing would be depriving Mad Norwegian of revenue, and thus slightly reducing the likelihood of the Faction Paradox line of novels continuing -- as well as my (admittedly remote) chances of ever seeing any royalties from the book.

Still, the facility's there if you want it. Use it wisely.

[Edit to add: The initial link is to an excerpt only. However, if you search on a character name (like "Urbanus") or a reasonably common word (like, say, "city"), you'll find it links you to occurrences throughout the book.]

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