Beautiful Children Joins the Free Book Movement

By Neal Comment

charles-bock-headshot.jpgFollowing last month’s hoopla over Charles Bock, reviewers were sharply divided over the actual merits of his novel, Beautiful Children…and then there were the people who just hated Bock on general principle, without waiting to read the book.

Maybe you don’t want to spend $25 on a debut novel. Fair enough, but you can’t use it as an excuse to not read Beautiful Children anymore: Until midnight this Friday (February 29), Random House is giving away free PDFs from the book’s website. Not only that, online booksellers like, Barnes & Noble, Powells and Northshire Books will also provide access to the files, which appear to be DRM-free. Bock’s reasoning for approving this giveaway is simple: “I want people to read the book. If that means giving it away for free on-line, great.” UPDATE: Not that he’s letting this “free” stuff go to his head; as an anonymous tipster pointed out, in tiny, faint lettering at the bottom of the website, there’s a little note that says “© Copyright 2008. Charles Bock. This is our intellectual property, so kindly don’t fucking steal it.”

(Full disclosure: One of the websites Random’s buying adspace on to promote the giveaway is my own

(photo: Eric Ogden/NYT)