Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Third Edition of the Machinery of Freedom is Now Available

As a kindle on Amazon.

It is not currently available in hardcopy. I am interested in comments from people as to whether they would want it to be. The kindle is up at $2.99. If I self-publish a hardcopy with CreateSpace it would be substantially more than that, and if I go with a commercial publisher more still. 

I am also interested in comments by people who read it and spot mistakes. One of the advantages of an eBook is that it's easy to make minor changes.

48 Comments:

At 4:29 PM, July 10, 2014, Anonymous Charlie P. said...

I would definitely purchase a hardcopy of the new edition, and I wouldn't paying the higher price.

 
At 5:15 PM, July 10, 2014, Blogger Mark Atwood said...

Have you considered also putting it on Kobo and Nook? I'm trying to wean myself off Kindle.

 
At 6:16 PM, July 10, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect by this, David means he'd like to hear pros and cons regarding a hardcopy, rather than a show of hands (since people who post here will be a small fraction of possible readership).

I imagine that it is probably worth releasing a physical version- some people are happier with hard copies and the extra cost isn't significant. It depends on how much work would be required to (self) publish.

 
At 6:38 PM, July 10, 2014, Anonymous Alex said...

I'm not a fan of e-readers (I've tried). I've been waiting for the new edition to read this book, and so would be very interested in a hard copy.

 
At 7:38 PM, July 10, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

I am a great fan of Kindle, principally because I can carry lots of books at low weight and can change the font to accommodate my ageing eyes.

I'll order one and make grammatical edits with a vengeance!

 
At 11:05 PM, July 10, 2014, Anonymous Randall M. said...

You may not be aware, but this is the kind of book people loan to their friends. I myself first read it that way. This is an important function of the book, and could not be served (as well) only by electronic copy.

That and many, many people still do not read books on e-readers.

 
At 1:20 AM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

I wanted to say the same thing Randall did, but he was faster :)

One can of course even "lend" e-books. Especially with a book that is also available online for free (albeit in a less polished format), you just send a link.

But there is a difference. If I'm given a physical book, I put it on a table or a shelf somewhere and it "stares at me" there, so I am much more likely to actually start reading it than if someone just sends me a hyperlink.

I would say paperback is a bad idea though (I know there were no questions about a paperback edition). Paperback is not suited for extensive use (such as lending this to people to see what they think about the ideas) and it does not have the advantages of a e-book either (and it is usually more expensive than the e-book anyway). Plus, a hardcover looks better even compared to a paperback in a still good condition.

Part of what I do to check I don't believe some nonsense crazy theories is talking to people I know are smart and who do not share my views (a slight problem is that after I've been doing this with one friend of mine for a while, his opinions eventually shifted much closer to me...but he raised some good questions in the process that I could not answer immediately and made me think). A hard-cover edition of Machinery would be nice to help with that.

 
At 1:24 AM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

On an unrelated note, you might check the description on Amazon:

"...and sets out the deeply moral basis of libertarianism..."

I don't think that is the point of the book at all (after all, good deal of it is dedicated to explaining why it does not use moral arguments and what the problems with that are). So maybe it is a bit misleading and should be changed.

 
At 7:26 AM, July 11, 2014, Anonymous Ross Levatter said...

When you make a "minor correction" in an e-book, does it impact on people that have already bought the e-book, or only on people who subsequently buy the e-book?

 
At 9:11 AM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Perry E. Metzger said...

Open Court claims that they're selling the third edition starting in November. Were you aware of this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0812698606/

 
At 9:18 AM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Mark Atwood said...

I think you should create a hardcopy. In fact, you should create three tiers: an ok quality paperback, a very high quality hardcover, and a "copy signed by the author" of the hardcover.

My favorite vendor for author printed hardcopies is Lulu press. For the ok quality paperback, you could just use the Amazon option.

 
At 9:41 AM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Perry E. Metzger said...

I found an error (which I also mailed to you)...

"The two most important modern examples of legal systems build on the ruins of feud law" should read "BUILT on the ruins"...

 
At 9:41 AM, July 11, 2014, Anonymous Erik said...

I agree with Randall M. The ability to lend this book is a great part of its value. It's no use saying to someone, "Hey, you should read this radical libertarian book - but you have to buy it yourself, sorry!"

 
At 11:51 AM, July 11, 2014, Blogger BerserkRL said...

Hard copy is great for gifts. Plus a lot of people (like me) still prefer them.

 
At 12:14 PM, July 11, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tibor: The description was provided by my agent. I agree with your point, am not sure if it's worth trying to write my own description to replace it.

 
At 12:15 PM, July 11, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

Perry:

Thanks. I believe you are the first person to have pointed out an error in the published version.

 
At 12:18 PM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Kevin Van Horn said...

I was planning on buying a copy for my son, so I would definitely prefer the hardback. Also, I'm wary of any proprietary format such as Kindle for any book that I want to keep for a long time.

 
At 12:45 PM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

David: Well that is up to you of course :). But I think that one thing that distinguishes Machinery from most other libertarian books or essays is exactly that - it is not about getting the results the author wants to get by cleverly setting up a moral theory. So a prospective reader who is curious but does not like libertarian moral arguments might be intrigued to buy the book for that reason.

 
At 2:09 PM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Perry E. Metzger said...

Tibor's comment is well taken, I think. One of the parts that I found most interesting about the arguments when I first read the book in 1990 or so was that it was not dependent on moral arguments at all. This is certainly a distinguishing feature, and one that should not be ignored.

 
At 7:05 PM, July 11, 2014, Blogger Shaddox said...

Something interesting to note: with Amazon Prime you can "borrow" this ebook for free.

 
At 2:07 AM, July 12, 2014, Anonymous RJ Miller said...

This is the greatest possible subject matter I could hope to see you cover when checking this site for the first time in months.

I will devour this new edition in every form available!

And yes, that would include a tangible copy as well. I guess for the same reasons I would buy a physical copy of a musician's album that happens to have some heavy historical significance.

 
At 3:15 AM, July 12, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

RJ Miller:

On an almost tangent - it is interesting to observe the increase of vinyl records sold over time. It decreased really fast at the dawn of the CD, but increased again as online downloads became more widespread. It is still nowhere near the sales in the 80s (and it won't get back there), but it is a similar pattern. People either want the convenience of a digital download or a sentimental and "gift" value that is provided by the LP (they may not even actually play it and some record labels, such as Ninjatune, provide a an included download code for a high-quality digital version of the album on the LP with it).

Again, my point is the same - online downloading is the convenience and mainstream (and I believe books will also go that way, although perhaps not as strikingly as music), hard-cover or an LP is the "exclusive" stuff. A paperback or a CD are not so much (there are still reasons to buy them sometimes, perhaps you don't like e-books, but don't care about nice looking books or you only have a CD player in your car...but generally, I'd expect them to be marginalized over time).

 
At 5:28 AM, July 13, 2014, Anonymous Scott G said...

I plan on buying a hard copy if made available, but will not buy any electronic formats. I like to underline and mark up the pages with pen or pencil, and fold the corners of pages.

I and other people also take photos of books we read and post them to Facebook. An interesting photo is one of the best ways to advertise a book. It is a way of saying I read this book and it was awesome.

 
At 3:30 PM, July 13, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

Scott G:

I bought a second hand book about probability theory from a US second hand bookstore recently and it came with some notes written by a pencil. That is to be expected as I paid only 30 dollars for the book instead of more than a hundred for a new one. From a certain point of view though, these notes are an added value rather than a damage. It makes the book somehow unique in a way a brand new copy isn't and sometimes the notes can even be interesting, so it is partly sentimental, partly practical added value...and obviously, an e-book cannot deliver in this respect. Also obviously, most people don't see it as an added value, otherwise those books would not be 3 or more times cheaper than the new ones.

My problem with e-books when used for work is that most e-readers don't show pdfs full of maths formulas typesetted in LaTeX very well...if someone knows an e-reader which can do this well, please let me know here, I'd be interested in that.

 
At 4:02 PM, July 13, 2014, Blogger Skafti Harðarson said...

Would buy several hard copies to give to friends that are open to the ideas. The Machinery of Freedom das been a life long friends to turn to. Refreshing and makes you think hard about how far you can take the ideas of libertarianism. We met on your first visit to Iceland a long time ago and I hope you still remain the same firebrand.
Skafti Hardarson

 
At 7:40 PM, July 13, 2014, Blogger Paul Walker said...

I would be into buying a hard-copy of the 3rd edition. To go with my hard-copies of the 1st and 2nd editions.

 
At 8:08 AM, July 14, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought and enjoyed this new 3rd edition. I strongly prefer Kindle copies to physical copies. Moreover, this ebook is lending enabled so that I may lend it to friends who can read it on their Kindle apps or Kindles. In any event, the $2.99 price makes it cheap to email it as a gift to friends also. By the way, one may make highlights and notes on a Kindle, and see the highlights of other Kindle readers.

 
At 8:25 AM, July 14, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for an epub version.

 
At 10:24 AM, July 16, 2014, Blogger Martin Lindfors said...

I imagine that there might be readers who prefer paper books, but who want the newest edition with all updates and new content. They would choose between two suboptimal options (old paper, or new digital book) unless the 3rd edition is released in a paper version.

 
At 6:39 AM, July 17, 2014, Blogger Gregory Heslop said...

I have been looking forward to buying the physical third edition, preferably in hardcover. I am not an avid user of e-books and probably won't get the book in that format.

Comparisons with similar books and how they sell in kindle, paperback and hardcover editions would be a no-brainer for estimating what sort of publishing arrangement is most worthwhile, provided one has a good set of similar books in mind...

 
At 3:52 AM, July 19, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

davi, i only read paper. paper is FAR more practical than ebooks. i would rather pay €40 for a paper copy than €2 for an ebook.

 
At 5:23 AM, July 19, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazon just launched its new "Kindle Unlimited" service. For $9.99/month one has unlimited access to more than 600,000 Kindle titles. I bought David Friedman's new 3rd edition of his "Machinery of Freedom" for $2.99, but now, one can have access to it via 'Kindle Unlimited'. I started my 30-day free trial and already downloaded three books. It doesn't have many of the latest titles probably because the publishers correctly fear cannibalization of their sales. This is available in the U.S., but my friend says Kindle Unlimited is not yet available in Canada. By the way, I find peoples' aversion to ebooks to be very quaint and charming. Younger people generally have no aversion to reading ebooks, most especially if the books are pure text like Friedman's book is.

 
At 12:26 PM, July 21, 2014, Blogger Jonathan said...

I will certainly buy the new edition for Kindle, and don't require a paper version. However, I'm away from home and busy at the moment, so I'll delay a little.

Like Ross, I'm also interested in what happens to your corrections after I've already bought the book.

 
At 7:55 PM, July 21, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you own a kindle there are settings in which you can choose to allow or disallow them to update or correct an edition of a kindle book you purchased; it's your choice.

 
At 11:33 AM, July 23, 2014, Blogger Jonathan said...

Looking into it, I find there are no settings on the Kindle to receive content updates, but you can request them manually or automatically from your Kindle account on the Amazon Web site. Interesting, I didn't know about that until now. I see that several of the books I've bought have updates pending.

However, a year or two ago I reported that a book had 12 lines of text missing, and that book evidently still hasn't been fixed...

 
At 10:27 AM, July 26, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

The chapter on educational vouchers contains numerous sentences of the type "conditional, contrary to fact" that need a verb in the subjunctive mood. For example:

"...disadvantaged children could petition the state for special recognition if it was unable to satisfy the usual criterion"

should be rendered

"...disadvantaged children could petition the state for special recognition if it WERE unable to satisfy the usual criterion."

The usage in the book is uneven--sometimes OK, but mostly not whenever "was" is seen together with "might," could," and "would"--a situation that plagues that chapter.

It's also off-putting to me and to many others, I'm sure, to see "which" occasionally used instead of "that" in a restrictive relative clause, as in:

"The second fact is that there exist some things which are sufficiently scarce that they cannot be used by everyone as much as each would like."

 
At 4:41 PM, July 26, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

Re: A Radical Critique of American Universities

In the first sentence of the chapter, "honorary" should read "honorarium."

 
At 6:21 PM, July 26, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

In the chapter Adam Smith U., it says,

"The university would determine what credit, if any, was given for such courses."

The sentence should read,

"The university would determine what credit, if any, WERE given for such courses."

A person hobbled in use of the subjunctive might say,

"The university would determine what credit, if any, IS [or WILL BE] given for such courses."

But in no case can the university logically determine what can be done in the past.

 
At 6:51 PM, July 26, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

Now in the chapter "A First Step," I encounter the rare instance of proper use of the subjunctive mood in a "conditional, contrary to fact" situation:

"If the city were broken up by act of the state government, those subcities where Republicans or independent Democrats had a majority would be out of the mayor's hands; ...."

Why not:

"If the city WAS broken up by act of the state government, those subcities where Republicans or independent Democrats had a majority would be out of the mayor's hands; ..."

in order to maintain consistency with the bad grammar of the rest of the book?

 
At 12:01 AM, July 27, 2014, Blogger Jonathan said...

Jimbino: Come now, post corrections if you will, but be nice about it.

Although I'd agree with your corrections myself, I'd add that the English language has only a vestigial subjunctive that could die out entirely in the foreseeable future; and I think there's no general consensus on the correct usage of 'that' and 'which'.

Furthermore, no-one writes perfect English consistently, so we shouldn't expect it. The language is a difficult beast to ride well.

 
At 7:39 AM, July 27, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

Of course nobody writes perfect English consistently; that's why Al Gore invented editors. But I remember having made extensive corrections to this same document, some years before, in an earlier version, that never got implemented. Tiresome.

Our Founding Fathers wrote funky English, too, and Gary Becker (RIP) was one of the worst.

 
At 1:08 PM, July 27, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

Jimbino writes:

"In the first sentence of the chapter, "honorary" should read "honorarium.""

You will have to take the matter up with Mr. Smith, who is the author of that chapter. It is possible that the meaning of the word has shifted since he wrote it.

 
At 5:30 PM, July 27, 2014, Blogger jimbino said...

I realized that Adam Smith was responsible for the "honorary" once I got to the end of the lengthy quotation. Evan so, I think you should find out who Adam Smith's editors were and hire them.

 
At 3:44 AM, August 02, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

A reviewer on Amazon has made a similar point about the morality part of the book description...the non-moral emphasis of the book seems to be important enough to people and so perhaps really worth changing in the description...it could attract more readers, I think.

 
At 8:44 PM, August 03, 2014, Anonymous Alexander Gallé said...

David,

I definitely think you should do a hardcopy of it, so people can lend it or gift it to others. I say this because this is how I myself discovered that level of libertarianism that goes beyond the kind of thing your father used to advocate (essentially, minarchism).

Now, having said that, I have to say that one of the reasons I sometimes do not give your book to certain people isn't because of the content, but because of the cover. Put simply, I think you could do much, much better. I speak with some authority on the subject: I've been an art director for every luxury brand you can imagine, from Jimmy Choo to Yves Saint Laurent, to Fabergé, to Swiss watch brands...

Now, you may say one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I think you might be missing a tremendous opportunity, given that many hardcore libertarians are also wealthy. Think of people like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. I'm quite sure they would love a luxury version of the book that cost maybe 100 or 200 dollars instead of your run-of-the-mill 20 dollars book. It would be a real collectors' item.

So, what I'm proposing is that you let me art direct the design of a luxury version of your third edition. If you're interested, please email studio at galle.com. I think it would be a real commercial success and a chance for me to get involved in the propagation of an important book.

Best,

Alexander Gallé

 
At 9:26 AM, August 09, 2014, Blogger Richard O. Hammer said...

If you self-publish, probably you should go with hardcover, because ...

I looked into the expense of self-publishing my own book maybe 20 years ago (before e-Books). I do not remember the exact numbers, but I do remember the proportion of cost hardcover/paperback was not more than 1.2.

The numbers were something like this. For a minimum print run of 200 copies, I would have to pay the printer $1200 if the copies were hardcover or $1000 if the copies were paperback -- not a big between the cost of printing a hardback and a paperback.

The big difference that we customarily see in retail prices, between hardback and paperback, must reflect business-marketing decisions more than manufacturing cost.

 
At 7:18 AM, August 14, 2014, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Ok, David. Nothing new here in over a month. I'm guessing you can't come up with anything to write about?

How about water fluoridation? I've been wondering what your opinion is on water fluoridation for some time. It's a hot topic with some in the North Bay area with Healdsburg voting in November on whether to stop their decades long fluoridation efforts.

Sonoma County doesn't currently fluoridate the outlying areas, but their Board of Supervisors is considering (and seems in favor of) doing so.

The discussions can get heated on the issue when it's brought up in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. What say you?

This actually wasn't on my political radar at all three years ago. I joined the fray after reading comments from pro- fluoridation folks that insisted on forcing it on everyone else.

 
At 12:57 PM, August 14, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

Fred:

I've been out of town for most of a month, two weeks of it in a medieval pavilion at Pennsic, the annual gathering of the Society for Creative Anachronism, of which I'm a long time member. So limited internet connectivity and not a lot of time and energy for posting.

 

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