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Writing an e-book: Occupy This!

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After I visited Occupy Wall Street in mid-October, I wrote my publisher Penguin and suggested that they re-issue Transforming Power as an e-book since it covers a lot of elements that helped to build towards Occupy. They came back with the proposal of a special e-book that we could get out quickly with a mix of new material with some material from the previous book. They said it would sell for $3.99. What a great idea, I thought. Now five months later, the e-book is out and called Occupy This! You can buy it on Kindle, Kobo/Chapters and iBooks or you can find it in Google books and go from there. You can also try downloading it from Penguin.ca.  At the moment it is only available in Canada.  It should be available in the US in a couple of days.

I think it's a good book. For activists, it puts Occupy into an historical perspective based on what I think are some of the influences that have shaped it and why I think it is so important. For a more general audience, it counters the undermining of the importance of the movement that has been quite widespread in the media. Let me know what you think of it.

Here is the publisher's blurb on the book:

"Feminist and social activist Judy Rebick brings decades of experience to her account of the Occupy movement in cities across North America. Linking Occupy to social movements of the past and exploring the courage and creativity of a new generation, Rebick argues that the Occupy movement and its counterparts around the globe represent a rise of people power at least as important as the 1960s.

Inspired by the Arab Spring, informed by the Indignados (the "Indignant Ones" who protested austerity cuts in Europe and Latin America) and responding to a call from the Canadian magazine Adbusters to occupy Wall Street, a group of young people set up a camp near the Stock Exchange in New York City on September 17, 2011. They called out to the 99 percent to occupy Wall Street, which they saw as the root of much of the injustice and inequality in the world.

Marvelling at how quickly the Occupiers gained support and impressed by their organizing ability and commitment to non-hierarchical democratic processes, Rebick says the encampments provide the sense of community that neo-liberal capitalism-- with its emphasis on the individual instead of the collective good -- has destroyed. Occupiers aren't so much rebelling, she maintains, as creating an alternative to the dominant cultural, economic, and social systems - in other words, a cultural revolution. Filled with eye-opening anecdotes and thoughtful interviews with activists around the globe, Occupy This! is an inspiring look at a new wave of change."

I didn't realize that no independent bookstore in Canada sells e-books. In the U.S. there are a couple that do. You don't need a portable reader to download it, though; you can read it on your computer as well. But, as my open source friends tell me, you have to have the proprietary software to read it. Of course that didn't stop them from finding a way to download it with Open Source. Sigh, life is complicated. I admit that I didn't do the research about e-books when I decided to do this. I just went ahead, thinking I could reach a lot of people about the importance of Occupy.  I was excited that Penguin chose my book as it's first or second e book  not thinking that it was still a little experimental, for example US sales not happening at the same time when online promotion is by nature international.

But I do think Occupy This! raises important questions about the Occupy movement and hope it promotes a discussion that will help to build the movement into the kind of force I believe it can be. rabble will be publishing an excerpt of Occupy This! as soon as Penguin figures out how to make that happen. Old publishers are having a hard time figuring out the new realities of e-publishing, I guess. Meanwhile seems like older women like Margaret Atwood and I  are the first ones to dive into the iTunesification of literature.   And that feels pretty good.



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