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eBooks, HEART-SHAPED BOX, and you:

6Jgex

For the next two weeks, in partnership with BitLit Media, my publisher and I are launching an experiment. If you own a physical copy of my first novel, HEART-SHAPED BOX – in hardcover or in paperback – you can now get a free copy of the eBook, which you can read using the software of your choice (iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and all the rest). I am awfully goddamn excited about this.

Getting your book is easy and weirdly fun. The instructions, and a dedicated HEART-SHAPED BOX page, are here. But I will repeat them for your convenience:

“1. Download the BitLit app (Android or iPhone).

2. Use the app to snap a photo of your print copy of Heart-Shaped Box.

3. Write your name on the copyright page. Use the app to snap a photo of it.

From there, we’ll send you an email with your coupon code to get the eBook edition of Heart-Shaped Box for FREE from HarperCollins.”

This offer is available only to US customers (for now).

Simple, right? Although this requires very little effort, the BitLit software is normally even more frictionless and delightful. That last step (the coupon code) is something my publisher did, I think so they can more closely track the results of the experiment. Normally, after BitLit confirms your book, they’ll set up an instant download. Cool, right? If our experiment works out, I’m sure we’ll move in that direction in the future.

And I hope our experiment does work out. I very badly want this to be a roaring success.

You may or may not know that for the last few months there has been an intense, sometimes nasty debate about what eBooks should cost and (maybe more importantly) who should get to set the price. Millions of dollars ride on the outcome, and the enormous corporations involved have been throwing sharp elbows. It’s a Big Deal.

For myself, I know – and believe we can still have – a thriving, healthy literary ecosystem, with big publishers and little ones, big bookstore chains and cozy indies, the convenience of online shopping and the pleasures of visiting your local brick-and-mortar place. And the BitLit software feels like technology in the service of supporting the whole ecosystem, instead of undercutting any one part of it. If you can go to your local indie, and get the eBook free for your Kindle (or iPad or Nook or whatever) when you buy the hardcover, you don’t have to choose between the big guy and the little guy, or between paper and digital. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game where someone’s win is someone else’s loss.

So, yeah, I hope you’ll take us up on our offer. If you own a physical copy of HEART-SHAPED BOX and live in the U.S. go get your free eBook. If you haven’t bought a copy of HEART-SHAPED BOX in paperback, I hope you’ll consider it. I’d like the results of this experiment to blow HarperCollins out of their socks. If this works big, maybe we can expand to other territories and other books. It isn’t entirely up to me, and I love my publisher and want them to be happy, so no promises, ‘kay? But if you do make use of the BitLit system over the next couple weeks to get your free copy, know that I’m tremendously grateful.

And I apologize deeply to everyone who follows me on Twitter because I’m about to spend the next two weeks relentlessly flogging the shit out this deal. Hope you don’t get too tired hearing about it.

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© 2014 Joe Hill