Bonus Books (If you pay more than average) :
Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13539171-pirate-cinema (rating: 3.82)
Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8503271-pump-six-and-othe... (rating: 4.11)
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11351953-zoo-city (rating: 3.68)
Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle by Mercedes Lackey – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10824696-invasion (rating: 3.73)
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/66659.Stranger_Things_Hap... (rating: 4.00)
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/66657.Magic_for_Beginners (rating: 4.01)
Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/957373.Signal_to_Noise (rating: 3.88)
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51964.Old_Man_s_War (rating: 4.18)
Standard Deviation for ratings. I have a hunch that with the standard-deviation, all ratings for all books even out at 4/5. Not sure why, but I think that goodreads-users are too nice due to using real names.
Edit: Just played around with the "rating details" tab and numpy:
Magic for Beginners has a mean rating of 4.01 and a stddev of 0.99, Pirate Cinema has a mean rating of 3.85 and a stddev of 0.89, Pump Six has a mean rating of 4.11 and a stddev of 0.81, so looking at only the standard deviations, all books have a very similar rating. Interesting, but that doesn't tell me much, except that the standard-deviation is massive in this context.
And because I think goodreads review are way above amazon in quality (usually, not always) here are the links for GoodReads (ratings in brackets):
Pump Six and Other Stories http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2819368-pump-six-and-othe... (4.11)
Zoo City http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7163862-zoo-city (3.68)
Invasion: The Secret World Chronicle http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1986356.Invasion (3.73)
Stranger Things Happen http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/66659.Stranger_Things_Hap... (4.00)
Magic for Beginners. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/66657.Magic_for_Beginners (4.01)
Pirate Cinema http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13539171-pirate-cinema (3.82)
Old Man's War http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51964.Old_Man_s_War (4.18)
Signal to Noise! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/166570.Signal_to_Noise (3.88)
(4.11) doesn't really tell me much, is that 4.11 out of 5, or 4.11 out of 10? (To pick a random rating).
Yes, I can not be lazy and visit the site to find out, but if you are leaving the comment up to be helpful, it would be appreciated to clarify their rating scheme for those of us who aren't familiar.
I think they also did the first eBook bundle some months ago, before Humble Bundle.
Wtf?! After I just paid, you're telling me to not do what I'd to with a physical book? (lend it)
It isn't that much their fault either, since it is inherent human nature and culture to share, and having grotesque IP laws that conflict with what your perceived normalcy is can potentially damage profits!
They have this on their page:
"Zero DRM. There's no DRM on any of our books. None. Why? For one, we don't believe DRM actually stops people from sharing what they want to share."
With books, mostly unlike with video games, curation is an actual value-add: there's absolutely no way any one person could keep on top of all the new book releases.
Of course, we're currently a bit of a monoculture too: mostly programming books, since our early adopters are largely programmers. But that will change as we grow, hopefully...
Bacigalupi is a great author. I really liked the Wind Up Girl, and about 80% of the short stories in Pump 6 were good.
Old Man's War is a recent classic. I've read all the books in the series, and the first is the best.
I've read all the Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean collaborations, and honestly I don't care for McKean's artwork. It took me a while of looking at the preview to realize I'd already read Signal-to-Noise. Forgettable.
I haven't read:
Cory Doctorow: Pirate Cinema
Lauren Beukes: Zoo City
Mercedes Lackey: Invasion
Kelly Link: Stranger Things Happen
Kelly Link: Magic for Beginners
I hadn't realize that Wild Cards is finally back in print!
When those two were paying for games it was obvious why that should be, since games on Linux are so comparatively scare, but it doesn't make so much sense with eBooks.
Also, since Windows machines are cheaper, they're more likely to be bought by cheapskates.
On Linux the humble bundle was almost always the first chance to get a hold of the games, while on Windows they'd often all already been out for 6-12 month. I'd almost always already bought and played at least 3 of games in the bundle for $10-20 each and often the games that I hadn't bought where games that I wasn't interested in. So for me 'buying' the Humble bundle was a straight up donation to support a concept I liked, rather than a way to get games. I suspect many windows users where in the same position.
I'm usually around average Linux when I buy a Humble Bundle and I'm making under $50k a year.
I don't have any hard evidence on the success of that, nor do I necessarily feel it is relevant to expand this out to an ebook or music bundle, but the information is there as presented.
(Given that it is not that hard to develop cross-platform especially since OS X is usually targeted as well.)
I'd settle for a simple way to enter my Kindle's email address and have them email the mobi file right to my device.
Most startups related to trying to shake up the media publishing biz pretty much exclusively say "US only for now, we're working on worldwide" and it never happens. :(
First, books are a special kind of products, they do not obey the same rules as commercial products, they are culture. To explain a little, I am french and we have a law for the unique price of books: the price you will pay for a book will be the same on amazon, at fnac, in your local bookshop or in a supermarket.
Second, the word e-reader is nowhere to be found, ePub is also not prominently featured, contrary to iPad and Kindle. For a no-DRM ebook offer, I would have thought that the standard format for ebooks would be more important than the name of the most DRM-filled devices.
Third, Pirate Cinema, Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners are CC licensed (some NC-ND, some only NC), I would be happy to know the license of the books that are here sold (included the other ones) and in the case of Magic for Beginners if it includes the non CC licensed short stories. For the first humble indie bundle, there was a promise that some games would be opensourced, a similar promise would be great here.
Where I live it's cheaper to buy books online in the UK and have them shipped over than to buy them in the local bookstore. So that's what people do. And local bookstores are dying. No surprise, given that it's illegal for them to drop their prices to a competitive level.
If it were not for this "prix unique" law, there would be as many local bookstores as there are local disc stores out of Paris: 0, and apart from amazon and fnac, there would be no big bookstores. But we have quite a number of them (chapitre, le furet, cultura, decitre...). Don't forget that Amazon Europe is located in Luxembourg where the tax on books is one of the lowest in Europe (3%).
So I am happy to be able to buy my ebooks from independent french bookstores for the same price as it would be from amazon.
I have nothing against humble bundle, but it makes me unwell that they treat books this way. I don't care for games for no other good reason that it is only ingrained in my brain that books are not merely commercial products.
Also, it's not that they have "no value." It's that they have a different value to different people. To me, this is inherit with the idea of "culture." I completely disagree with the idea that you can put a fixed price on a piece of culture. I'd say it's offensive to even talk about culture in relation to money - like you can put a price on it.
I don't see this as paying for the culture of the book, myself - I never have (when buying books). I see this as paying the author for the effort they put into their creation - but not paying for the creation itself (because paying for the creation assumes that it is now mine, and it isn't).
It allows people from every economic status to have access to the piece of culture represented by these books, and to contribute what they can afford to the authors.
Humble Bundle recognizes that culture restricted to segments of the population capable of paying an arbitrarily set price is not shared culture. The value of something is not set by a pricetag.
(Also, I am even more confused now how you can simultaneously think they are treating books poorly by allowing consumers to pay what they can, and also be disappointed that the books do not have more permissive licensing...)
I didn't know there was such a law in place in France, so I'm curious now.
Last question: who fix the prices of books? Who has the power/authority to decide how much a book is worth?
The publishers. If you look at the back of most books, you'll see a price printed in the bottom corner. In most countries that generally seen as a general guideline and an upper limit, in France it's legally binding.
And that idea itself is a cultural thing. Most Americans (even liberals) would literally barf at the idea of having "a law for the unique price of books" as being European-style socialism.
And there's another meta-cultural observation: European-style liberals barf at that idea, too.
Personally, I don't understand why books shouldn't fall under the same regulations as other goods. Sure, a book has intrinsic value not found in a bottle of shampoo, but so do movies, video games, paintings, and all other art. Are those categories also regulated?
So, the goal of the fixed price is to ensure a variety and diversity of published books which do not all necessarily have to be profitable.
Personally I think the system is completely insane, and that we shouldn't treat books different from other cultural works (music, video games, movies, etc..).
EDIT: The Netherlands also has a fixed-price for books system, and that is what I was talking about above. Presumably the goal in France is similar, but I am not familiar with their implementation of this idea.
Trying to drive up profits of publishing corporations to enact the change you want to see seems oddly... American.
Following the logic that books are not "commercial products" and instead culture, then shouldn't they be free?
"Compatible with computers and mobile devices. These books are available in multiple formats including PDF, MOBI, and ePub so they work great on your computer, eBook readers, and a wide array of mobile devices!"
But it's a typical european intellectual view, especially in Germany and probably it's the same in France. Here we have the state support for the higher arts, like subventions for museums, to have them let a positive effect on the population. That is to counteract the evil influence of the pop-culture, especially of american movies and music. And all pc-games are garbage, responsible for kids killing people and the brutalization of the youth.
That view is deeply routed here and equally present in right-conservative circles as in left anti-imperialistic circles, who even in the 80s and 90s commonly didn't had a tv (or at least claimed to not watch it, if they had one, apart from watching the news and arte).
I hope that the following generations will change that, but just talk to a non-gamer about his view of pc-games. It will take years for a normal development here, though movies are much more accepted now (still censored, of course, and only the removal of the censorship will show me that this society here has accepted them fully)
Of course there are already intellectuals not fitting into that scheme, an example is Wolfram Knorr who wrote the book "Weil sie wissen, was sie tun" ("Because they know what they do") about the quality of the american influence on the german culture, showing the beginning of intellectual german anti-americanism in the 20s and more so in the 50s and the following development.
Anyway, that thought of a good german/european high-culture being in a fight with the american low-culture leads to a lot of state-intervention here, a process in which not only museums and theatres are given money so they can focus on not popular higher arts, but also books are bound to have the same high price so they aren't devalued as mere products.
Something like that bundle couldn't exist here, which is a shame (and which maybe explains the high average price).
You are technically correct, but it was heavily implied but having a problem with this Bundle in particular when HB's usual is games & music. It could have been a bad assumption, but one that would have been easily cleared and one that I was not attempting to argue with so I feel I was intellectually in the clear in making such an assumption, as well.
As for the rest of your post: thank you for the information. The "European intellectual view" is very much a different way of thinking than I am used to encountering. Follow-up question: your post seems to indicate that the primary villain being fought is American pop culture so what of American books? It seems from this thread that they are given the same protection as European books so are they just not considered "evil" or is it that it's worth overreaching to include them if it means saving "real" culture or is there some other mindset at work?
You can pay as much or as little as you wish. They are not gouging you, how could it possibly be objectionable that they are not forcing you to spend more money?
It stipulates that the publisher's book price on the back may only be discounted up to a further 5% by the retail store.
There are also other fixed book price laws  around the world.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lang_Law - English version
 http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loi_Lang - French and more information
However I can't wrap my mind around why he would simultaneously want Humble Bundle to raise their price to "protect" local bookstores and want them to license the books with permissive licenses that permit free redistribution.
Would he presumably be okay with the Humble Bundle if they were non-commercially distributing the books for only free with permissive licenses? Wouldn't that cause even more harm than merely allowing people to pay what they want?
Or does he want the privileges granted by permissive licenses, but doesn't want Humble Bundle to have the same?
The idea that culture is a different kind of business is born from Ancient Regime roots and it's about time these ideas die for good.
Speaking from that side of the keyboard, though, and as a hobbyist game developer, I see the exact same cultural experience with games.
When I witness people building their own Mass Effect Shepherd armor (or, heck, my own cosplay) standing alongside Harry Potter costumes at DragonCon, the dividing line disappears for me.
I would love to see this new bundle follow the same product rules that provided crazy exposure and crazy sales* for game developers.
On to more interesting thoughts, I wonder if future ebook bundles will be filled with serial titles. In other words, you pay the nominal Humble fee to sample the first novel of several series; publishers will bite hoping you'll get hooked at full price. I don't recall seeing an appeal to episodic content in other Humble Bundles, but ebooks are a different market with different publishers looking at different trends. Interesting times.
Started with Old Man's War and finished it in one go. Liked it a lot, although it was really simple. It was a great start for this bundle and set some high expectations.
I started Magic for beginners, a collection of short stories. The first one was.. weird. But fun and a good read. The second was unreadable. I tried multiple times, restarted.. No luck. Checked the third and it's a freak story in a q/a format.. Tried, failed. Last chance, story four. Maybe that one isn't bad, I was annoyed by now. The beginning is.. totally off though. I stopped, deleted the book.
How about Invasion? Deleted it after 10 minutes. I'll keep it in an index of reference books for crap that is impossibly bad. Its like a C-movie, but without the special effects and with a worse plot.
Granted, Hitler/Nazi plots have a hard time with this German reader. If an author thinks that it makes sense to drop German-except-not-really quotes on every other page I'm deeply disgusted. Don't. Oh my god is it bad.
So.. I'm now disillusioned. I love the Humble Bundle stuff, but so far this particular one was exceptional in only one way, a bad way.
Obviously this is a matter of taste and maybe everything else is good anyway, but I cannot recommend this Bundle to friends.
- install FBReader
- click on the EPUB link
Depending on whether you've done this before, you may get a dialog asking whether you want to make FBReader the default for epub.
What's more surprising is that neither Aldiko nor Kobo work this simply.
boots into windows to update some crappy buggy software to read an ebook on his tablet
-Jeff from Humble Bundle
(and no, I'm not affiliated with them, I just think they've built a great platform)
p.s.: i just saw that kindle is also on the appstore. So i may sync without itunes AND have it on my smartphone (android) and the ipad. yay!
I think this is a chrome PDF viewer issue. You may want to fix this.
It's quickly become my favorite book-reading app on the iPad, and their webapp is pretty awesome too. You can load any unprotected EPUB.
Just bought a bundle for myself and one for my girlfriend.
I say make room for talented writers who could use the money.
you could say this showcases more the work of the illustrator Dave McKean than Gaiman's work, with two more stories written and illustrated by McKean. So you could say Gaiman's name is for the pull, while the majority of the work was done by McKean, who'll probably get most of the money, too.