If you’re not an avid video gamer, you might not be familiar with the Humble Indie Bundle, or you might not have had an avid video gamer friend accost you and demand that you immediately take what’s offered by the habitual organizer and offerer of DRM-free indie developed games on a pay-what-you-want system where funds go directly to the game makers and game-related charities.
This summer, the Humble Bundle branched out a bit, offering a bundle entirely of nerdy musical artists like MC Frontalot, They Might Be Giants, and Jonathan Coulton. Now the Bundle tackles another frontier: books. Here’s how it works:
The Humble eBook Bundle is offering eight award winning titles from some of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy, a grouping that would normally set you back more than fifty dollars. Now, if you wanted to, you could walk up to their site, pay one measly cent, nab six of these books (four of them by female authors!) in every available eBook format completely DRM free, and walk away.
But instead, what I suggest is that you pay at least more than the average bid. Why? Well, because it’ll allow you to put more money directly into the pockets of either the hard working artists who created the books you’re about to enjoy, to the folks who put the Bundle together in the first place, to the the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or all of the above (Since the HeB allows you to adjust what percentage of your money goes to authors, charity, and tipping the Bundlemakers). And also because if you pay more than the average bid of everybody who’s bought the bundle before you, you’ll get all eight books, and, if this Bundle works like Bundles before it, about half way through the two-week window for purchase more stuff will be added to sweeten the pot, free of charge to those who’ve already purchased it.
But what’s in that pot right now? Cory Doctorow‘s Pirate Cinema, Paolo Bacigalupi‘s collection of short stories Pump Six, Kelly Link‘s Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners, Mercedes Lackey‘s Invasion, the first part of a trilogy about superheroes and unexpected Nazis, Lauren Beukes‘ Zoo City, set in a world where the guilty are mysteriously paired with animal familiars and psychic powers (so sort of like The Golden Compass except when your daemon dies you are torn apart within minutes by a mysterious black cloud that nobody’s been able to explain). That’s the basic six titles. But match that average donation, and you get John Scalzi‘s Old Man’s War, and the 1992 graphic novel Signal to Noise, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. It goes without saying that we’re loving the fact that this is the first Humble Bundle where half the items on it were made by women, and half by men.
Update: From Doctorow himself:
@nerdgerhl Thanks for noticing the gender parity in Humble Bundle – I worked hard for that! Decided to do that from day one
— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) October 9, 2012
(And just in case you’re wondering, the Electronic Fronteir Foundation is an international group dedicated to perserving internet freedom, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is a group dedicated to supporting and advocating for, well, science fiction and fantasy writers in America.)
So what are you waiting for? Go grab some cheap books while supporting worthy charities, authors, and DRM free reading!