Because this book’s only source of revenue is readers like you. If you don’t pay, the book dies.
This book is partly an ongoing experiment in taking the web seriously as a book-publishing medium. I have a role to play in making the experiment work. And so do you.
For my part, I wanted to deliver a level of writing and design quality that you’d find in a printed book. Not that print will always be the gold standard. But today it is. Because so far, web-based books—nice ones, anyhow—have been slow to emerge.
Yet these books can’t emerge until writers put in the effort to make them. So I did. I wrote the text. I designed the fonts. I made the illustrations. I created a book-publishing system called Pollen. I paid for the web servers. It was, in short, expensive.
But I don’t want you to pay for this book because it was a lot of work. So what? All books are. Rather, I want you to judge it on the criteria you’d apply to any other book. Most of all:
Was it worth your time as a reader?
Because your time is expensive too. This is a fact often overlooked in debates about how much a digital book should cost. Reading a book is a big undertaking. What you spend to buy a book—whether $5 or $50—is small compared to the hours you’ll spend reading it. Every great book is underpriced; no bad book is cheap enough. So to minimize your risk, you don’t have to pay before you read this book.
But that doesn’t mean the book is free. If you like the book, I’m relying on you—yes, you, not the guy over there—to help sustain the effort. I want you to enjoy the book, learn from the book, but also support the book. If it was worth your time, please pay for it. See how to pay for this book.
And if you disagree, please—no need to send an email explaining why, e.g.,
Please also note that there are no ads on this website, and as long as readers keep paying, there won’t be. I believe that reader-supported publishing can work on the web. But I also dislike paywalls. Don’t you? So let’s skip it. I’ve done my part. I trust you to do yours.
I wrote about the financial results of this experiment after the first year, second year, and third year.