We CoSigned This Letter to the FCC

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    The Electronic Frontier Foundation just sent a great letter to the FTC in the US asking them to get retailers to label electronic products that are DRM’d. Why does this matter? Have you ever bought a book, song, or video (or even a cat litter box!) and tried to play it 5 years later only to find the software is no longer supported and the manufacturer does not exist? It happens surprisingly often. If your book/song/movie is free of Digital Rights Management software guff then you’re home free. But if it’s locked into some long dead system: good luck.

    We are proud to cosign the letter. You can read more about it here, “EFF to FTC: Online Retailers Must Label Products Sold with Digital Locks” and read the letter below,

    Gavin J. Grant
    Michael J. DeLuca
    Weightless Books

    Last Day to get a Free LCRW Subscription

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    This is it: the last day to get a free 4-issue LCRW subscription. If you’re an LCRW subscriber (hello lovely readers!), you’ll receive a 4-issue subscription extension. The subscription will be added to your Library in the first week of March.

    Why? Answer here.

    Any ebook? Even a 99c ebook? Yes! And here are some 99c ebooks as well as the rest of this month’s bestsellers, so far!

    Locus February 2016 (#661) Mothership Zeta Magazine – Issue 2 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 26 Letters to Tiptree

    4 more days to get a free LCRW sub!

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    Furnace cover - click to view full sizeWe really don’t want you to miss this offer: Buy any ebook on Weightless this month and get a free 4-issue LCRW subscription. (More here. Why? Here.)

    Here’s today’s rec: Livia Llewellyn’s new collection Furnace. My own wife says about this book:

    Bonus LCRW subscription for one and all!

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    Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 33 cover - click to view full sizeFirst, not to bury the lede: We’re celebrating moving to our new webhost, Dreamhost, with a special that will run all month:

    Buy any ebook on our lovely DRM-free indie ebookstore WeightlessBooks.com between 12 a.m. February 1 and 11:59 p.m. February 29(!) 2016 and receive a free 4-issue LCRW subscription (worth $9.95!). If you’re already a subscriber, you will receive a 4-issue subscription extension. And if you buy an LCRW subscription, this will basically double it, but this offer applies to any ebook bought from this store this month.

    (If you’d rather not receive this bonus, please email us, thank you.) The bonus LCRW subscription will be added to your Library in the first week of March.

    Why? We had an awful experience at the end of the year when our previous webhost dropped the site for a whole week. When we asked about back ups, they said the back ups were in the same place as the actual site . . . and could not be reached. Which means they were nonfunctioning backups. Not impressive.

    So now we have signed with Dreamhost who promise 99.9% or higher(!) levels of uptime and it is time to celebrate and thank all the readers who choose Weightless!

    Here are some recent bestsellers as a place to start:

    ——

    Cory Doctorow on Hachette, DRM, and locking down the books

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    Cory has a great piece in The Guardian on how Hachette scored an own goal by asking/agreeing to Amazon’s DRMing their ebooks which leaves all those who bought Hachette ebooks tied into their Kindle.

    I am no fan of Amazon’s scorched earth policies: they want to relentlessly drive everyone else out of business and convince people (we are individuals! not just customers!) to funnel all their choices through them. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to have an Amazon phone giving me a buy button on everything. Ack. They are akin to WalMart in their negotiations: every year they go back and ask for higher discounts from suppliers, which, believe me, if pretty painful from a publisher perspective.

    We welcome all readers here: those who’ve been reading online for decades and those to whom reading on a screen is a whole new frontier. Many of our readers know how to move ebooks around, convert their books into different formats if needed, and redownload them if they have a new reading device. One of the main reasons Weightless exists is that we wanted to make sure indie publishers have a DRM-free, worldwide reader-friendly option to sell their books. As Amazon gets tougher and tougher on their suppliers, it becomes more obvious how important it is to have options.

    DRM Free 4 Eva!

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    Today is International #DayAgainstDRM. Since DRM-free ebooks have been a plank in our platform here at Weightless since we opened back amidst the primordial phytoplankton ebook soups of 2010, I thought I’d take this as opportunity to explain why.

    DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s a name for all the different forms of technology used by companies in control of vast amounts of intellectual property in order to maintain that control, even after a consumer has paid for the right to use that content. When your Kindle breaks or dies or gets stolen after you’ve spent thousands of dollars loading ebooks onto it, only for Am@z*n to tell you they only sold you a license to those ebooks and now you’ll have to buy them all again, you’ve been stung by DRM. If you buy an ebook, read it, love it, then lend your ereader to a friend you know will love it too, only to find out that you own the rights to read that book exactly once, you’ve been stung by DRM.

    Consumers have been figuring out ways to work around DRM, and consumer advocacy groups like Defective by Design, EFF and EPIC have been arguing against its use, for as long as the pro-DRM crowd has been struggling to lock them out. But instead of backing down, corporations keep developing new, more invasive iterations. New forms of DRM threaten to infringe on privacy by tracking and reporting on how and when you use your rights-managed files.

    When you buy an ebook, you should be able to do what you want with it, for as long as you want. Yes, there’s always a chance that an ebook will be pirated, especially when it’s a really good book. Piracy robs authors of income they need and deserve, and it’s a tragedy. But forcing people who actually want to pay for and own a book legally to jump through a bunch of flaming hoops in order to do what they want with it is no kind of solution to that.

    That’s why none of the books we carry here at Weightless use DRM or ever will.

    If Gavin and I are destroyed by meteors tonight, tomorrow you’ll all still have your ebooks. And to that we say hooray!

    Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology TK. In the meantime, these:

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    Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on Their MusesWow! Our International Anti-DRM Day 1/2 day sale was super popular. Just shows that there is a huge market for DRM-free books, especially if the price is low low low. We sold hundreds of books and I hope took the DRM-free word out to a whole new audience. Thanks as ever for spreading the word about Weightless.

    Today we sent out the latest issue of N. Carolina-based Bull Spec as well as posting a triplet of fascinating Lethe Press books, including Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on Their MusesWe also added a couple more Wildside megapacks—they are just flying out of here. They’re almost free, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise.

    Other books that are doing well: another of Lethe’s recent titles, Point of Hopes: A Novel of Astreiant by Melissa Scott & Lisa Barnett and Andrea Hairston’s Tiptree Award winner, Redwood and Wildfire

    We’re always happy to hear from you—reviews are welcome in the comments—about new publishers you’d like us to add or new features.

    And, did you see these excellent Kickstarter projects?

    1. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer and PM Press are working with Jef Smith of Think Galactic to  put together a Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology.
    2. The Baffler magazine is relaunching—with fiction from Kim Stanley Robinson, Chris N. Brown, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya (translated by Anna Summers) and tons of smart nonfiction. I loved—and was successfully baffled by—The Baffler in its previous incarnations so I am bouncing with happiness that it is returning.
    3. John Joseph Adams, editor of Lightspeed and all those huge anthologies, is going to edit a horror magazine! Back Nightmare Magazine and get ahead of the curve.

    Every day is an International Day Against DRM

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    Hey, it’s . . .

    International Day Against DRM!

    Which, as you know, Bob, is every day at Weightless.

    So we’re jumping on the bandwagon (thanks for the idea to the great peeps at Angry Robot!) and—for today only—we’re offering 50% off all ebooks in the store. Use this coupon:

    DRMFREE

    once you’ve added all the books to your cart. Here’s our April bestsellers to start with:

    1. Ginn Hale, Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling, Irregulars
    2. Kickstarter prodigy, Fireside Magazine
    3. Melissa Scott, Lisa A. Barnett, Point of Hopes: A Novel of Astreiant
    4. Nancy Kress, Fountain of Age: Stories
    5. Lightspeed Magazine subscription
    Go, spread the news, and let’s change the world!

    DRM? Pah! Plus: Shimmer, Locus, Apex, LS, & much more

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    Shimmer Magazine – Issue 14 coverDRM-free ebooks are in the air (as it were) with MacMillan announcing that all Tor books will be DRM-free by July of this year. We’ve always thought that DRM-free ebooks are the only way to go as they’re the most reader friendly so we’re super happy to see Tor make this great choice. Yay! Well done to everyone involved! We’ll talk to Tor and see if we can get their titles up here once they’re available.

    New this month to Weightless is Shimmer magazine. We have their current issue, #14, available in (yes, DRM-free, ok, ok, I’ll stop) pdf, epub, and mobi, and will be adding pdfs of back issues in coming months. (Ping us if you have a fave issue you’d liked added and we’ll see if we can get those sooner.) I’ve always enjoyed the physical Shimmer—it’s well designed and feels great in the hand—and am looking forward to seeing how it translates into an ebook.

    We just posted the May issues of Locus (interviews with Seanan McGuire and Nick Mamatas, reviews galore), Apex (fiction by Rachel Swirsky, Nnedi Okorafor, et al), and Lightspeed (fiction from Linda Nagata, C. C. Finlay, Nicola Griffith, Catherynne M. Valente, Kage Baker et al, excerpts from new novels by Paolo Bacigalupi and Kim Stanley Robinson, as well as interviews with Vernor Vinge and Michael Chabon). New issues from Clarkesworld and Beneath Ceaseless Skies will also go up in the next couple of days.

    I was talking to a friend who publishes a quarterly magazine recently—naming no names in case it doesn’t work out—and it looks like we may  have a nice announcement about that in the works. We’re always happy to add new magazines and indie publishers. We hope to add NYRSF soon.

    Elsewhere on the site, Wildside are selling a lot of those megapacks and Aqueduct have promised us more ebooks very soon—although like many people we know they are busy, busy with WisCon prep. So sorry we won’t be there this year. Hope to get back soon. We will have a table (courtesy of David J. Schwartz) and will co-sponsor the Genderfloomp dance.

    Since we’re now well into the second quarter of the year, we dropped the price of A Working Writer’s Daily Planner from $3.99 to $2.99 and the Almanac edition from $4.99 to $3.99.

    April BestsellersFireside Magazine – Issue 1 cover - click to view full size

    1. Ginn Hale, Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling, Irregulars
    2. Kickstarter prodigy, Fireside Magazine
    3. Melissa Scott, Lisa A. Barnett, Point of Hopes: A Novel of Astreiant
    4. Nancy Kress, Fountain of Age: Stories
    5. Lightspeed Magazine subscription

    In sadder news, we’re sorry to say Something Wicked announced they are officially stopping their monthly publication schedule. We refunded all subscribers and are happy to point readers to their website where they will continue to post individual stories, reviews, and interviews. Back issues are available here—and with luck more back issues will be added as spring goes on. It was a brave run and we wish Joe and Vianne the best of luck with future projects.

    These continue to be interesting times in ebook land with Microsoft and bn.com teaming up together, Google giving everyone the boot (boo), Tor going DRM-free and so on. Weightless exists so that indie publishers and readers could find one another. Thanks for reading, for supporting indie publishing, and for spreading the word, it’s much appreciated! We’re always happy to hear from readers and encourage reviews and comments.

    That’s it. Happy May Day!