Anatomy of a Book Release

On Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, the United States Pirate Party released their first book, No Safe Harbor. As I was the editor of the book, this is not a review, I cannot objectively critique this book, nor do I wish to try.

We released the book as an ebook in several formats, including .mobi, .epub, .PDF, and others. There was also a printed book available for those who wanted them. The book costs $9.99.

The original price of the book was set at $13.99, the price gave the USPP $2 per book. Clearly we didn’t want to overprice the book, but we did still want some kind of residual from it.

The change came about a few days before release when Createspace, the company doing the Print-on-Demand services for the book, altered their royalty and pay structure. Amazingly it was in our favor. I decided to lower the price to $9.99. At this price, no one could say we were price gouging, and it still gave us the $2 royalty rate we wanted.

Whether anyone but I wanted that, is beyond me. While Andrew Norton and a few others worked on the book, I was the “main” editor. I contacted the authors, set terms, wrote contracts, and figured out what order to put the essays in.

While it was tedious at times, I’d still do it again, and plan to, actually.

The book, both ebook and printed book, were released under a Creative Commons license, BY-NC-SA.

Sometime on Jan 24th, the website went down. Andrew, myself, another guy named Andrew, Chris, and some others rallied to fix what was wrong. We created a page on Blogger and redirected our link,, to it.

While we waited for traffic to pick back up, we scoured the Net and saw what happened. The site was Slashdotted. A deluge occurred.

The files for the book were hosted on the PPI site, no problem there. All we needed was a page for people to get to, hence, the Blogger page.

While watching the site stats, we saw it take off. First a hundred, then two, then, not even two hours after the site was back up, we had over 2000 hits to the page.

At the end of the day, it would go up to 13,000 hits.

At the same time, we had a Torrent set up. I have personally seeded nearly 3GB of a 50MB file (of course if someone is using uTorrent or a cooler system, they could download only the files they wanted and not worry about the 40MB RTF file.

We haven’t sold many copies of the physical book, we didn’t expect to. It was actually my idea to have a physical book, as I am struck by what Whitman called, “The mania of owning things.”

Somehow people seem to care more if your book/film/album is in a physical format, that it doesn’t “matter” if it’s not in something made of matter.

Within the day of the book’s release, I found somewhere I now forget where, someone translating the book into Spanish. I did however remember the link to the people translating it into Russian.

I couldn’t believe it, Russians want to translate this book into Russian!? More power to them.

I love this, I really do. I keep Googling and seeing what I come up with.


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