Goodbye PDF, hello lifetime access

Paul Ingraham

I have stopped offering PDF versions of my books. Instead, I’m now offering lifetime access to my web versions. Previously, web versions expired after six months, with the option to buy future editions at a steep discount. Now, every customer can always read the most current version of any book they have ever bought, forever — until the end of the internet, I hope. (I have plans in place to preserve well after my demise, timely or otherwise.)

Customers certainly want PDFs, but that doesn’t mean you should. 😉 What a horrible technology! Ugh! I sold them for about 15 months, really nice ones (for PDFs) … and hated every minute of it. They were a bit of a nightmare. It was fingernails on chalkboard for five quarters of business. I’m extremely happy to be done with them, even though it meant abandoning one of the largest programming project I have ever done.

I am a connoisseur of reading technologies. I have been using every imaginable digital publishing and reading technology since the early 1980s, and they are all seriously flawed. I am an expert about this, maybe the only thing I am truly expert about, and I choose to publish exclusively on the web for a long list of good reasons — perhaps it’s foolish and idealistic and stubborn, but I am what I am, and this is just how I do things here, and it makes me happy to show up for work again. So goodbye, PDFs! And hello, lifetime access.

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