45 Free Cutting-Edge Books … Courtesy of Creative Commons

Yes­ter­day, we alert­ed you to the free audio and text ver­sions of Lawrence’s Lessig’s book, Free Cul­ture: How Big Media Uses Tech­nol­o­gy and the Law to Lock Down Cul­ture and Con­trol Cre­ativ­i­ty. Today, we’re point­ing you to a larg­er col­lec­tion of high-qual­i­ty books (45 in total) that you can down­load legal­ly thanks to Lessig’s Cre­ative Com­mons. The trove includes a good mix of gen­res. In fic­tion, you’ll find three works by sci-fi writer and blog­ger Cory Doc­torow — East­ern Stan­dard Tribe, Some­one Comes To Town, Some­one Leaves Town and Down and Out in the Mag­ic King­dom. Under non-fic­tion, you can freely access Gamer The­o­ry by McKen­zie Wark (Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Press), Democ­ra­tiz­ing Inno­va­tion by Eric von Hip­pel (MIT Press), Yochai Ben­kler’s The Wealth of Net­works (Yale Uni­ver­si­ty Press), and Dan Gilmor’s We the Media: Grass­roots Jour­nal­ism by the Peo­ple, For the Peo­ple. Final­ly, on the “how-to” side of things, you’ll stum­ble upon titles along the lines of 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Not a bad col­lec­tion of works, and cer­tain­ly worth the price.

Most of these books are issued in tra­di­tion­al print ($$$) and free down­load ver­sions, which rais­es the obvi­ous ques­tion: does this make any busi­ness sense for pub­lish­ers, let alone authors? Lawrence Lessig, who ini­ti­at­ed the con­cept, asserts that it does, not­ing that more read­ers who access the free down­load copy will ulti­mate­ly buy the print ver­sion than those who don’t. Or, put more sim­ply: the con­verts will exceed can­ni­bals, which results in a win-win-win-win sit­u­a­tion. The read­ers win one way or anoth­er; the authors and pub­lish­ers win; soci­ety wins; and so does the free flow of infor­ma­tion. What more can you want?

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