Daily Archives: August 24, 2009

Top 20 Websites For DRM-Free Science Fiction Ebooks

100 dollar laptop: ebook mode
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Serious science fiction fans are always hungry for new authors, perspectives and worlds. Cory Doctorow, no stranger to science fiction fandom nor authorship, recently pointed out a terrific post at DavidBDean.com that listed websites where one can find DRM-free science fiction to slake that cyberliterature thirst.

The following list combines the best of the online resources for DRM-free science fiction suggested by the BoingBoing community with the excellent “13 DRM-free ebook sites” resource by Mark Gladding at Text2Go Blog.

Baen Free Library
You’ll find around a hundred or so free ebooks here. There’s also an Annotated Baen Free eBook Listing, which includes scads of CD-ROMs that shipped as promotional materials, all neatly zipped up for download.

Cory Doctorow has made gobs of his science fiction novels and novellas available online for download. I enjoyed Little Brother, though fans of classic space opera are likely to be left somewhat mystified.

Nearly 500 DRM-free science fiction ebooks, most of which are new to me, for good or ill. Ratings from the community should help both the visitor and myself to judge what might be worth downloading.

The clever Charles Gladding, of Tumbywood Software in Australia, set this website up to track ebooks as they’re published. He has a commercial incentive to do so, given that his Text2Go software is made to convert text to speech for use on a portable media player, but as that’s a rather useful service,  I raise my virtual goblet to him and thank him for the useful site. The most recent posting sent me to “Beasts of New York,” a “children’s book for grownups.” Thanks, Charles.

There are over 200 episodes of the Escapepod podcast now, many of which feature great short scifi stories. Episode 205 even includes a full cast dramatizing “Rogue Farm” by Charles Stross.

Probably the most attractively designed website of the bunch. Great catalog, plenty of DRM-free science fiction ebooks. I downloaded a PDF of Charles Stross’ “Accelerando” tonight, in fact.

DRM-free doesn’t mean free-free. Fictionwise offers nearly 5,000 ebooks, each with user ratings. An ebook will cost you anywhere from $0.99 for old or obscure scifi to $18 or so for a novel hot off the presses. If you join their “club,” savings are even more pronounced. Tons of classics and new offerings in there.

Terrific links to scifi work from 2009. Ethics upfront: Doesn’t link to pirated copies.

“A website for people interested in the future and the effects of science and technology on the present.” You’ll find new scifi in the fiction section.

The Australian iteration of Project Gutenberg has an exhaustive list of DRM-free science fiction


Top-notch science fiction blog. Not specifically oriented towards DRM-free scifi but posts often point to such work.

“Kalkion is the collaborative effort of passionate science fiction writers who have come together for a noble cause.” News, resources, jobs, blogs, community.

Hundreds of science fiction novels, in just about every electronic format you might desire. I downloaded Scalzi’s first novel tonight.

A bit limited but worth a quick browse.

If you’re going on a long drive or are a fan of audio books during your commute, Podiobooks has dozens of DRM-free science fiction novels available for download.

Project Gutenberg
The grandfather of ebook resources has many science fiction novels for download.

Plenty of DRM-free science fiction to be read at this “online magazine and community dedicated to celebrating the best in science fiction, fantasy, comics, anime, and gaming.”

Publisher and bookseller. Promotes new writers.  Books section includes downloads.

One new science fiction story a week, going back to 2000. HTML format, in the main, but therefore quite legible on, say, an iPhone or the like.

Tor, publisher of many a scifi classic, has been sending me a friendly email newsletter for many months now that featured newly published books, audiobooks and readings. I’ve also been happily downloading and reading new DRM-free ebooks that they’ve announced. While that particular option has ended, there are still dozens of stories to be read there.

A Note on DRM

You might wonder what the fuss is over DRM-free ebooks. After all, easily downloading a new novel to a Kindle over a wireless broadband connection in 30 seconds or so is an act straight out of science fiction. I’d suggest considering the scenario where an ebook publisher can exercise certain rights over content remotely, as Amazon in fact did earlier this year. Readers interested in the coalition that has raised concerns on those counts may find Defectivebydesign.org of interest.

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