An apology to my supporters


It’s time to declare Files that Last a flop.

Most books are flops. This wouldn’t be so bad in itself, but I produced the book with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. If you were one of my supporters, you wanted and expected something good. It’s clear from the lack of reviews and sales that I didn’t deliver. It ranks #271,981 on the Kindle best-seller list.

I wish I knew why. I got a few negative comments in private communication, but nothing deeply disappointed. There were the inevitable complaints about typos, even after proofreading. No one ever catches them all, and I don’t think that was the problem. There were a couple of complaints about omissions of favorite topics; that’s inevitable too. There were a few very enthusiastic public comments. What there wasn’t was any real reviews, any ratings on websites that offered the books, any discussion. Since I published the book, there hasn’t been a single comment on this blog other than blocked spam. Reviews are the life of a book, and FTL was DOA. People didn’t hate it; it just didn’t generate enough enthusiasm to get people to say anything about it publicly.

People do want a book on “digital preservation for everygeek.” I wouldn’t have gotten the support that I got on Kickstarter without that. What I delivered somehow wasn’t what you wanted. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone else from making the effort, with more engaging writing, more relevant content, or whatever it was I didn’t provide.

As for me, on to other things. I may as well “remainder” the book, so here’s a Smashwords coupon code that’s good for 60% off (on the Smashwords site only) till the end of 2015: XY29D. Post it wherever you think people might be interested.

Thanks once again to my Kickstarter supporters, and to Matt and Terri for their work in making it a better book.

A note to someone who attended Conterpoint

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At Conterpoint 2013, I put out two free CDs of FTL that people could take under the condition that they write a public review, and both of them were taken. I don’t know who these people are, or whether they’ve published a review yet or are still working on it, but if you’re one of them, could you give me a link to the review when it’s available?

Independence Day sale!

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From now through July 4, you can get Files that Last on Smashwords at 40% off by entering the coupon code XE93J. The 4th of July is a day not only for fireworks but for thinking about historical documents, and for making sure they survive even if they accidentally turn into fireworks.

OK, it’s not light summer reading, but brushing up your preservation skills never hurts.

Thanks, Debbie!

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From Twitter:

Time to think of the fall

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It’s mid-May, and graduations are already starting. Those of you who teach know it isn’t too soon to plan for the fall’s courses. If you’re teaching a course that touches on system management, data maintenance, or preservation issues, you should consider including Files that Last on its reading list.

Preservation Services at Dartmouth College offered a reading list in digital preservation in 2012. That list, which predates FTL, suggests several books which focus on preservation from an institutional standpoint. The Planets Project (which has become the Open Planets Foundation) has an older but longer bibliography in a similar vein. Files that Last complements books like these with its focus on a broader computer audience, the people who need to do preservation as an aspect of their regular work, rather than being primarily information curators.

If your students read Files that Last, it will help them understand the issues of data preservation and loss and appreciate the importance of good data maintenance practices, and they’ll learn habits that will let them better control the data in their own lives and their future jobs.

Introducing the update page

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I’ve launched a page of updates and errata for Files that Last, with some new information on the WebP still image format. As I learn about things that have changed or mistakes in the book, I’ll add to the page.

If you spot anything that you think needs fixing, please let me know.


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Files that Last is the first e-book on digital preservation directed at “everygeek.” In case your layout doesn’t show you the page links (e.g., on a mobile device), you can read what the book’s about and how to get it here.

Promoting FTL

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Looking for a way to get the word out about digital preservation? I’ve added a new page on reviewing FTL to this site. All publicity (well, nearly all) is good!

FTL for libraries

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Libraries can buy Files that Last through Axis360 and Cloud Library, or will be able to at some point in the future. Since libraries are clearly key customers, both as users and as lenders, I’ve made the book available to them at a permanent discount, for $6.99. In addition to those aggregators, buyers can buy through Smashwords’ Library Direct.

Librarians, please let me know if you have good or bad experiences buying the book this way, or if you’ve had past experience with these channels.

FTL Launch Day!

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Yes, it’s finally here! You can now buy Files that Last on Smashwords for just $7.99.

In fact, you can buy it for less than that — “for a limited time only,” as they say in the commercials. Enter this coupon code:


and you’ll get 20% off. But it’s good only till April 20. I can’t figure out whether than means at the beginning or the end of the day or in what time zone, so use the coupon before the 20th to be safe.

You need a Smashwords account to buy the book. It’s free, and I’ve never been spammed. In time Smashwords will make the book available through other outlets; I’ll post here as I learn about them.

I’m thrilled that the book is finally done and available, but now comes the hard work of selling it. Please mention or review it where interested people will see it. There will be ads (I’ve set up a Google Ad Words account), but the real key to the success of the book will be people who read it and spread the word.

Thanks once again to Matt Leger for the cover and Terri Wells for the proofreading, and to all my Kickstarter backers. Special thanks to Jay Gattuso, who backed the project at the Sponsor level. If you’re one of those backers at the $10 level or higher, you should have gotten a coupon code to download the book for free. If you haven’t received it, get in touch with me and I’ll see what I can do,.

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