The Cory Doctorow Humble Bundle

Name your price, get ebooks, back EFF!

Cory Doctorow
4 min readMar 3, 2024

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White type on a dark grey background reading ‘Cory Doctorow novel collection book bundle.’ Also: the Tor Books logo.

I’m on tour with my new, nationally bestselling novel The Bezzle! Catch me in TUCSON (Mar 9–10), then San Francisco (Mar 13), and more!

A yellow rectangle. On the left, in blue, are the words ‘Cory Doctorow.’ On the right, in black, is ‘The Bezzle.’ Between them is the motif from the cover of *The Bezzle*: an escheresque impossible triangle. The center of the triangle is a barred, smaller triangle that imprisons a silhouetted male figure in a suit. Two other male silhouettes in suits run alongside the top edges of the triangle.

It’s been 21 years and 29 days since Tor Books published my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. In the years since, Tor has published every one of my novels, sending me around the USA and Canada to talk about them. Now, they’ve teamed up with Humble Bundle to sell 18 of my ebooks on a name-your-price basis, with part of the proceeds going to benefit EFF:

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/cory-doctorow-novel-collection-tor-books-books

I’ve been associated with EFF even longer than I’ve been published by Tor! My first novel came out while I was working EFF’s first-ever booth at CES. I split my time between the booth and my motel room, where I paid $0.25/call to dial up to Earthlink’s local number and manage the launch-day publicity. Over the years, I’ve benefited immensely from Tor’s editorial and publicity departments, working with brilliant publishing people like Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Patty Garcia, Dot Lin, Laura Etzkorn, Elena Stokes, Sarah Reidy, Lucille Rettino, and of course, Tor founder Tom Doherty.

But I like to think that it was a two-way street. Tor and I have come a long way together on ebooks: most visibly, they allowed me to publish several novels under Creative Commons licenses (my first book was the first ever CC book, coming out just weeks after the licenses themselves launched). As my editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden said at the time, “Ebooks have the worst hours-in-meeting-to-dollars-in-revenue ratio of anything in my publishing career. Why not?”

https://craphound.com/down/download/

Just as important — but less visible — was Tor’s willingness to let me insist that all my books be published without DRM, meaning that anything you buy on say, Amazon, can be moved to any reader program if you decide to start getting your ebooks elsewhere. This worked so well that in 2012, Tor became the first major publisher in the world to ban DRM on all its ebooks, flying me, John Scalzi and Charlie Stross to New York City to announce it this at a big, splashy event at Book Expo America:

https://web.archive.org/web/20130512022634/https://tor.com/blogs/2012/06/tor-books-announces-e-book-store-doctorow-scalzi-a-stross-talk-drm-free

Tor’s unique status as the sole major DRM-free publisher in the world was well timed! That same year, I curated the very first Humble Ebook Bundle, which was very top-heavy with Tor titles, and raised more than $1,000,000 for the writers, publishers and charities associated with it:

https://web.archive.org/web/20121017215636/http://www.humblebundle.com/

That opened the floodgates to a series of Humble Bundles, tempting other major publishers to dabble with DRM-free, including Simon and Schuster:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-I5QyAfglU

And Harpercollins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHMLfeCrCrE

Now, 12 years after that inaugural Humble Ebook Bundle, I find myself honored by being the subject of a bundle of my own (it helps that I’ve written a hell of a lot of books in the intervening years). Included in the bundle are (nearly) all of my Tor novels and novellas: The Lost Cause; “The Canadian Miracle” (a Lost Cause story); Red Team Blues; Radicalized; Walkaway; “Party Discipline” (a Walkaway story); Pirate Cinema; Rapture of the Nerds (with Charlie Stross); For The Win; Makers; Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town; Eastern Standard Tribe, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother, Homeland, Attack Surface, and “Lawful Interception” (a Little Brother story).

(The sole exclusion is The Bezzle, which came out two weeks ago and is already a USA Today national bestseller!)

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250865878/thebezzle

Also included in the bundle is Poesy the Monster Slayer, my 2020 picture book for the littlies:

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627/poesythemonsterslayer

All these books are delivered as DRM-free epub files. The Bundle runs for the next three weeks, and the minimum buy-in is $18 — that’s just $1/book (full retail value is $187). Of course, you can name a higher price, and, as with all Humble Bundles, you can adjust the final split to share out the money between me, EFF, and the Humble folks.

If you’d like an essay-formatted version of this post to read or share, here’s a link to it on pluralistic.net, my surveillance-free, ad-free, tracker-free blog:

https://pluralistic.net/2024/03/03/humbly-bundled/#eff-too

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