January 31, 2011

The e-selling of the president


President Obama‘s speech at the Tucson memorial service commemorating those who died in the shooting rampage that hospitalized Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is now available as an e-book. According to the New York Times report:

St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan, has converted the speech into e-book form, making it available through Amazon, BN.com and other retailers for 99 cents. A spokesman for St. Martin’s said the e-book, for sale on Monday, would be the only downloadable version of the speech, which is in the public domain and available to any publisher.

The speech is widely available in other formats for free, including YouTube as well as excerpts on NPR.  The Times notes that recently publishers have been experimenting “with shorter digital offerings in e-book form, including essays and short stories.” St. Martin’s has decided to title their 99-cent experiment, What Is Best in America. Is this cynical, or just ironic?

Oh yes, my fellow Americans, the speech is also available for free, direct from the White House website, here.

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.