Cory Doctorow's Little Brother: DRM-Free Audio Book

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Cory Doctorow has written a new audio book, entitled “Little Brother”. He sent me the following email to give us all a peek at the plot, and to explain something very important and ground-breaking about this book.

Plot Synopsis Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works – and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
The audio book is from Random House Audio, and was released on April 29, and cost is $20.00. What’s the big deal? The deal is that it’s ONLY being delivered as a DRM-free MP3. There will be no DRMed editions. This is a first for Random House Audio.
The audio book comes with the author’s sampling license: once you own it, you’re free to take up to 30 minutes’ worth of material from it and remix and then redistribute it as much as you like, provided that you do so on a noncommercial basis, make sure that it’s clear that this is a remix and not the original, and make sure that you tell people where to find the original. This is in addition to all the fair use remixing that you’re allowed to do.

After playing a half-hour of the audio book for my chat room, no one wanted me to stop! You guys know where to go to where to get the rest. How can you not love an author who writes about ‘saggy man boobs’? I love that Corey has taken the DRM out of the book, and I can’t wait to see others follow suit.


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85 thoughts on “Cory Doctorow's Little Brother: DRM-Free Audio Book”

  1. I have never gotten into audio books
    but that sounds like a great plot, and seems if it was ever a movie thatd be cool
    But drm has made me mad over the years
    like id buy a song and transfer it to my other computer and it woulndt play im like um
    But back to the audio books i think the big reason people dont like the audio book way of things is cause of not liking the voice of the person reading it
    Now if this book was in a text form i would love it
    i know its gonna be good just by the first few minutes of what you played

  2. good for Cory Doctorow for joining the DRM-free bandwagon… i can see the decline of DRM these days… i know iTunes now offers DRM-free music through iTunes-plus… they only thing missing is for Nokia and Microsoft to join in….

  3. I listened to it, and I actually liked it pretty well. But like all books on tape, I generally like to read the book by myself. That way I can give whatever voice I can think of to each character. Now maybe that was the author’s intentions and he wanted the characters to talk in a specific way, but one of the things I like about reading is using my imagination to picture characters and the way they talk. That being said, I think it’s awesome that it’s DRM free, let’s hope Cory is a trend setter.

  4. I really like the idea of DRM free audio books with a sampling license. It allows people to share an idea from a book, easily and legally. In my humble opinion, DRM doesn’t stop anyone from making copies of a file or editing it anyway. You just burn it to a CD and *Abra-Kadabra!* DRM is gone! I think DRM is just an example of the audio industy’s failure to adjust with the times.

    As for Little Brother, it’s well written and interesting. The topic of hacking computers is hard to write about, but in Little Brother it’s fairly well done. Nice novel, nice license.

  5. I fear I will once again revealing myself to be a complete -rube- by saying that I have no Idea what is meant by DRM. However, being disabled and legally blind, I am of course a fan of nearly any audio book. I look forward to reading and enjoying this new title, the brief view of the plot you have given already has its hooks in my imagination and I am anxious to own my own copy.

  6. American Idol,

    I really don’t need an author to write about saggy man boobs for me. I can see those just fine in the mirror.

    It almost sounds like Random House Audio is taking a chance by going the MP3 only format. I mean, sure they give you the freedom to remix 30 minutes of it…. but who on earth is really going to do that?

    More likely, you will have people who enjoy the book and then send it along in its entirety to their friends. (Sorry Random House).

    That said, it is probably only a matter of time before someone comes up with a way to prevent the unauthorized sharing of MP3 files.

    By the way, this really seems like it’s going to be the future of the book and music industry. You know, where any Joe Schmoe can write a book or record a song and sell it to the general public online without too much trouble. (Although in this case, Random House is involved).

    Joe Schmoe is a good friend of mine, and he approves this message.

    -James Gia

  7. That sounds like a cool book. Wish I had some Money. So far i’ve made 18.03 on Ad-Sense, so I figure I can get the book next month 🙁

  8. lol it was so funny when he said “mainly because i don’t want to offend half my audience!”

    everyone in the chat room pauses…

    u just pwned half your audience.

  9. DRM free audio book, cool. I have a small number of audio books, all have DRM on them…

    the plot of the story it self… meh.. think i will wait for the movie 🙂

  10. I listened to the Corey’s Little Brother. This was the first time that I heard / read his work. I liked the way they he writes and is directly because of the fact that he seem to know what he is talking about. I will be ordering his book this afternoon. Recommended!


  11. This sounds like a great book and I am defiantly buying it because it is good and its DRM free. I am not buying anything until it is DRM free.

  12. Sounds like a good book. I don’t read a lot just because I don’t like half the books out there. I suppose that if I would just pick a couple up and start reading them that I would grow to like them. But this I really like this one. Please pass my congrats onto the author. I will defiantly be getting this one. Thanks.

  13. Wow! Ok, this is the audio book that you had on a few days ago. I LOVED IT( and I am no way a teen or a geek) and was dying to know what it was called. Now I know. Thanks Chris, now I can buy it. Here’s a question for you, what is DRM?

  14. I also think DRM is dumb. I can understand why record and movie companies want it, but if they want to sell more content, go DRM free. Apple saw this when they started releasing songs without drm.

  15. that is a very awesome story line but its highly unrealistic that a 17 year old could take down the DHS but i guess that is why it is a fiction book

  16. I love content that is DRM free too! I do however understand the need for it, but still hate it.

    Today it is just too easy to download Limewire and get a song or video that you want. What it comes down to is your morals. If you are going to do right or do wrong.

    Sounds like a cool book Cory! I’ll definitely check it out and tell my friends!

  17. The book sounds interesting enough, but more importantly I am all for DRM free data myself. I like the idea of having a copy of all of my data on any machine I want. My MP3 player, my laptop, my desktop, and CDs & DVDs. I most certainly do not want a subscription service because I NEED music in my car constantly.

  18. Resolution is the size of a display or image of width x height, so a display that is 1440×900 is 1440 pixels wide and 900 pixels high, and is said to have a resolution of 1440 “by” 900. File size is how many bits a file takes up on the hard drive, and image quality can mean a lot of things, just look up the term “quality” and you should get a general idea I suppose.

  19. That screen saver is called Fenetres Volantes and can be found at objective-cocoa(dot)org/fenetresvolantes/en/download(dot)html

  20. My god, is there a book version of this book, it sounds really interesting, I don’t really enjoy audiobooks because i feel it is like the lazier form of reading. Like the only way i use i suppose text to speech something is when I’m really tired and i don’t feel like studying, i’ll find the book online like on their site and use a username that’s in my text book, copy and paste like an entire chapter into a freeware app i find online for text-to-speech and just lay on my bed and listen. But this does look like a very interesting book, I hope i can find it. thanks chris.

  21. This is great! I hope that other Authors will follow this fine example. It really makes the reader feel like hes not a pirate and this also promotes more people to buy books online!

  22. Sounds very interesting and how controlling things what people can do with technology doesn’t really stop people from hacking into technology and how being into technology is very controlling but i might download this and give this to some of my friends. Thanks for this information Chris.

  23. This sounds like a very interesting read… err, um… listen, I think I am going to be $20 poorer this week. I hope many others decide to do away with DRM as well, this is only a good thing for the end-user.


  24. If both my favorite techie, Chris, & my favorite Sci-fi author, Spider Robinson, comment & made great reviews about this audio-book at the SAME week, it must be THAT good! Of course, I had to ask my sibling to lend me the credit card to purchase it… (I’m still paranoid to use them, even online)

  25. You realize this video will probably get you and you’re friend Cory on the Watch List…. LOL

  26. Well in my opinion the aduio book sounds interesting i may buy it and cory doctorows sounds intellengent definetly going to buy this book i hate it when unintelligent people make movies books and other things and get huge sums of money when hard working people doing great things never get noticed

  27. It´s always a risk being the first one. Whatever we´re talking about.
    But someone has to be the first one to take the big “jump”, and pray that someone will come along with you.

    Will I buy Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother?
    Yes! Not only because the (audio) book seems interesting. But It´s DRM free, and I want to support him for taking that choice!

  28. I am all for DRM free content. The only problem with audio books is that they never make the books that I want in audio format. This is also why I would love to see technology finally succeed in producing a accurate book reader

  29. Wow, seems like a good book!
    I think I might buy this! Sounds good, and well just sounds good.

  30. Like I have said countless times before the only people DRM hurts is the honest people who just want to listen to music, videos, etc. Anyone who has the slightest amount of geek in them knows (or knows someone) who can easily get around DRM. Cory is a great guy and I give him tons of respect for realising this as DRM. While free DRM free music (like what Nine Inch Nails has been doing) isn’t gonna be really mainstream (people need money after all) DRM-free music will definitely be the way of the future, just look at amazon or iTunes.

  31. That was pretty interesting.

    Everything should be DRM free.
    DRM forbids Sharing. Sharing is in the human nature. Everyone has shared something. If you forbid sharing, you are forbidding creativity, you are forbidding the act of the human mind, the human nature.

  32. I don’t really like DRM that much either. I think Netflix stuff online is DRM which is good it stops people from copying it, but it stops them from getting the Instant Watch feature to work with Mac OSX and Linux. On the other topic that book sounds really good. When I get enough money I want to get that book it sounds like a good plot and story. Thanks I would of probably never heard about this book Chris Pirillo. Thanks.

  33. well, it is funny but it sounds like a teenager would write “w1n5t0n” , it is gaming slang, a bit childish but still it is quite compelling, the main character seems to be very smart, it sounds geeky,tech oriented perfect for this community, it is a normal teenager life.
    I didn’t know about TOR, it seem that it is a good audio book that is interesting and you can learn new things.
    it cracked me up when he said saggy manboobs.
    i might even buy the book, who knows.

  34. I think that its a great idea how they are releasing it. But the drm free wont fly for alot of people because even with the license like it is we all know that it will be on some website out there offering it for free.

    That being said I might have to go buy the audio book 😀

  35. It was fun listening to that on the stream. The book sounds like one of those great reads especially for geeks.

    Too bad you couldn’t play more of it. I’ll have to be sure to get that audiobook next time I have some spare cash I wanna waste. Even better since it’s DRM free!

  36. i watched the youtube thing and that is a really good book i want to get it for m yself i just got into it whel i really like the $sys$ tip lol vista for schools and face detection software is school is dumb i hate schools that are on compklete lockdown all the time anyway thanks chris for a wonderful half hour

  37. i hope we start seening more and more DRM free music/videos cuz DRM just casues to much problems for everyone.

  38. Being the first audiobook I have ever heard, I think the idea of taking something analog ( technology free) and turning it into something is very digital and very distributable– if that’s a word.

    I think that the future of books are definitely online, due mainly to the fact that the world is changing. The more available a form of ‘media’ is, the more attention it will attract– especially from people of the ‘tech’ generation such as myself.

  39. I never really got into audio books either. If I’m gonna listen to a book, I’m gonna follow along in a paper copy as well. I really can’t comprehend it if I’m just listening to it. I really need to look at it to understand it. I’m not sure if this is common, but at least its this way here in my head. But, hell, who knows what goes on in there. lol.

  40. I’m more of a visual reader rather than an audio reader, but with that synopsis, I think I might check it out.

  41. Most of the time i don’t “listen” to something that I can read, if I can, I’ll listen to something that has the same pace to my reading, but most of the time, I find it harder to follow the book (I don’t have good hearing, so I tend to understand something better by “seeing” or reading it) I tried to get the audio reading to Harry Potter Books, What I didn’t realize, it was in “English” (as in UK, not American as I am.), and the “Books” I was following (downloads obviously), were “poorly written”… Common mistakes, even Complete misspellings obviously someone was coping them themselves and didn’t bother to spell check… worse experience ever! so never again… never again…

  42. Audiobooks arn’t really for me…. when i missed a line of text or something, it’s hard to rewind back to that position on the ipod

  43. DRM has just messed up many people’s lifes. It’s the reason we can’t buy songs on Napster to play on our iPod or buy songs off iTunes to play on our other MP3 player. It’s good to see books being un-protected now, too. I am totally going to buy this book.

  44. DRM free music is great but the reason it has not phased out is because of apple. They started with the ipod and they have conditioned people to buy drm music becasue tehy will only use it on the ipod. They can buy drm free music but it costs more. I cant wait to buy the mp3

  45. An audio book free of DRM, the world is becoming a better place. DRM is a tedious thing and I have no love for it. I can understand their side (DRMers lol), but still I am happy to hear that in the future we may be done with DRM forever. The book sounds good, I haven’t heard of any other good audio books coming out lately. This sounds interesting and I will probably give it a listen. Chapter one sounded great and has gotten me very intrigued.

  46. its amazing to watch how the industry is progressing. Drm free music, books, and almost everything is giving users a lot more freedom. The book also sounds very intriguing, and I might have to go check it put. Now only if apple would get with the program and start making iTunes ERM free. But hey, everything can’t be perfect I guess.

  47. DRM-Free is the way to go! I need to check out Cory’s work! I love Audio books because my eyes tend to hurt without reading audio. Maybe that is just the geek in me.

  48. I hate audio books. I am able to focus more on the subject if i can physically read it in a book with pages. My mind wonderd when I am listening to audio books because when the author makes a point, I like to ponder about it for a moment.

    However, it is good to see that DRM is starting to go away. Although, if DRM truly prevents piracy, then I am all for it.

    I agree with XedLos, whom made a comment earlier in this blog post:

    “DRM free music is great but the reason it has not phased out is because of apple.”

    Since most people buy their music through iTunes, iTunes music being DRM, we have become used to DRM being in our lives. However, at least Apple has given us the option to pay an extra few cents for a DRM-free song.

  49. That first Chapter was great! I want to see how the story develops even further and how w1n5t0n is caught by DHS. I think it is amazing what Cory is doing. I dislike DRM and hope more authors take Cory’s lead.

  50. DRM-Free would make it much easier to manage music! I don’t want to have to buy music and then find out that it’s not compatible with my MP3 player.

  51. Nice Video lolz, my names Andrea, im feelin n0rty and h0rn3y if any guyz wana chat im usually on
    ___ ___ my username there is Andrea-tdknwvk chat soon 😉

  52. I always here what a bad guy this DRM is but why what are the bad things in it?
    I’ve never had any problem with it but I just have a few files with it, and both are played with media player and mp3 players.

  53. I have an idea for the DRM community. If DRM content was controlled enough, do you think that you could maybe return an Album if you didn’t like it?
    In normal record stores, if you were not satisfied with the album you could return the album. So why couldn’t you do that with services such as iTunes. Somehow I don’t think that is likely, but who knows.

  54. That’s pretty interesting story actually, i think i might even like it. I like this action type and thinking stories. But i think this random house audio is over now, right? but 20 $ isn’t that bad. maybe i can make my english teacher to buy that ^^ as he also is very into these stories.

  55. I don’t listen to audio books because I don’t have any money. So, I can’t buy any audio books. I love reading, i have read the entire Series of Unfortunate events, and I would have loved to have an audio book of them. That book sounds amazing Chris. Unfortunately i need to comment on another 238 videos or however many you’ve recorded since the dragon giveaway. 🙂

  56. DRM-FREE?Great news!I am wainting everything to be free.I know that’s not really possible but at least anything which is free captures my attention

  57. DRM is the definition of everything that is wrong with electronic media. Limiting legitimate use will only hurt the consumer and allow the publishers to profit at the consumer’s expense. Give me more DRM-free ebooks, the world needs them.

  58. DRM does not promote the advancement of online content. This is a great step in making content “open”, or at least as open as it can possibly get.

  59. i still searching for a mp3 file on the web.
    cause a tryng to learn english languaje.

    i choose little brother because has a modern use of english

    muchas gracias a cory doctorow
    espero que traduzcan el libro al español

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