In December 2010, Granta, surely one of the world’s most wonderful publishers, gave us a World AIDS Day present. From December 1st until the end of the year, the electronic version of “The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS was available for free on this site. A little disclosure: I had a bet with Granta staff about how many people would download the eBook. The bet was made in second bottle territory so the details are hazy; one of said we expected a maximum of 15 dowloads, the other did not venture beyond single figures.
As far as I can tell from the file downloads for December 2010, over 5000 people downloaded the book. Many readers were kind enough to write to thank Granta, and some of you copied me. Comments include:
“I’m a 22 year old student from India and I just wanted to thank you and your
publisher for giving the ebook for free, making it more feasible for people like
me, who don’t usually have the same financial means to purchase ebooks,”
“Knowledge and awareness is the best present anyone can
receive this holidays.”
“Congratulations on this wonderful move from Granta — how fabulous of them!”
“I just wanted to thank you for offering the eBook version of Wisdom of Whores online, for free, for the month of December. People WILL want paper copies after reading it in this format…”
“I think a number of students and my mother and some others will benefit highly, and it gives those of us with paper copies the warm fuzzies toward you and Granta. And I can take your book with me every time I travel – this is a huge boon for those of us who do much of our writing in hotel rooms!”
“I realize that making an ebook available for a free download is a complicated tradeoff between mindshare and revenue for the publisher and author, and I’d like you to know that in my case, at least, I think the tradeoff worked.”
“Thank you so much for allowing us to download this book. I read the hardcover
version over a year ago, and the information I learned still informs my research
and discussion on HIV/AIDS today.”
“Your decision to make The Wisdom of Whores available in the form of e-book is much appreciated. I write from Nepal and for us first it is a challenge to get a copy, and second the price of books printed abroad is significant.”
Here’s some information to help you with eBook reading in general.
There are many ways to read the eBook, it is in “epub” format.
You can download it above and then transfer it to a variety of ebook readers, or simply read it on your computer using common ebook reader software.
For Firefox users, we recommend ePubreader. You can get the Firefox add-on at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/45281/
Recent versions of Apple’s Safari browser contain the Safari Reader.
Currently, the format can be read by the following software and devices:
Barnes and Noble Nook
Bookeen Cybook Gen3 (with firmware v. 2 and up)
Lexcycle Stanza reader software for iPhone, iTouch & iPad
Adobe Digital Editions
BookGlutton (social reading)
FBReader (a href=”http://www.fbreader.org/win32/”>(Windows version), (Android version)