Ages of Discord on Kindle!

Peter Turchin


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Many of you will remember the post I published in November on why there is no e-book version of the Ages of Discord (AoD). In that post I wrote

I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about whether there is an e-book version of Ages of Discord (AoD); and if not, when there will be one. I am sorry to report that currently I have no plans to publish AoD on Kindle or another e-book platform. The reason is that AoD, unlike Ultrasociety, is not a popular book. There are tons of equations, data tables, and charts.

I lacked time to invest in doing a quality conversion from the PDF to Kindle, and I didn’t want to publish a half-baked product. So I decided to stick with paper version only. In any case, AoD is not a popular book, and doesn’t pretend to be one.

In fact, I was somewhat surprised by how well AoD has been selling—despite all the wonkish equations and data tables. I suppose I should thank Mr. Trump for it.

I was also surprised to get an e-mail several weeks ago from CreateSpace, the print-on-demand arm of, which offered a free Kindle conversion of AoD. I replied that

I am interested. However, you should be aware that my book has a lot of graphics, tables, and mathematical equations. I have fairly exacting standards for typesetting, and so I am unwilling to publish the book on Kindle if these elements don’t display well enough. If you think you can produce a quality Kindle version, then I will be happy to publish it.

They said they were up to it, and in due course sent me the file with the conversion. There were a few problems that I pointed out, but they fixed them to my satisfaction.

So in a few days, a Kindle version of Ages of Discord should become available on Amazon. In my opinion, the paper version is still superior, but I understand that there are reasons why some readers will prefer an e-book. In fact, for books that I use recurrently, my preference is to have both a paper and e-book versions. The e-book comes very handy when I am away from office. It’s good for keyword searching. AoD, of course, has an index, but nothing really substitutes for being able to specify your own keyword when trying to remember just where was that sentence you are trying to locate months (or years) after reading the book.

I realize that CreateSpace didn’t do this free conversion out of goodness of their hearts; they are a business out to make money. I nevertheless thank them, because without them reaching out to me, there would be no AoD e-book.

A final note for those who use e-readers other than Kindle: there will be no DRM (digital rights management) protection (I oppose DRM). You can buy the Kindle version and convert it to epub, or whatever, using a program such as Calibre (and consider supporting Calibre if you do).

And here’s the link to pre-order the e-book

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Thanks – ordering AoD physical copy too much of a bother from here, Kindle much more convenient.

And props on not using DRM.

Edward Downe

Great book. Well conceived. But digested best as a book version.

While CreateSpace has its drawbacks, it does help an established work meet e-demand. I’m glad this option will be available, ad the ideas in your analysis merit wide discussion. Congratulations.

I have a long perspective on Amazon as a corporation, having lived in Seattle since before its founding, and as one presently residing within blocks of its new megapalace seen out my window. Their structure of tending to force author dependency upon Amazon is . . . problematic. I say that as an author with a self-published text, on Amazon and elsewhere. There are other issues there.

The ability of indie publishers to disseminate their work is very important, however, and no question Amazon has played a role in that. Personally, I’ve advocated for a non-profit/ low profit (Craigslist) like distribution pipe for decades. Anybody who buys an independently published ebook is a friend of mine, though. People want information, and information wants to be free: the world will move past Amazon in its own good time. As of today, we use the means we have.

Matt Zefferman

Great! Literally yesterday I told someone that I hadn’t read the book yet because I do most of my book reading in the field and physical copies of books are too awkward to lug around.

Dan Kurt

Why I like e-books:

1) Save Space. Recently I retired and at age 75 my wife insisted we move to a more clement location near our only son. I packed 101 book boxes ( over 5,000 books catalogued by box ), shipped same to new location, and books are now in climate controlled storage. Our old home was 4,000+ sq. ft. while the new one is 1,800 sq. ft. and all one level.

2) Accessibility. Above books are difficult to get to as they are over three miles from new home. e-books can be accessed from iPad, iPhone, and Mac at a moment’s whim.

3) e-books offer the individual a low cost way to maintain a lifetime library. No DRM is a critical part of their utility.

Dan Kurt

Loren Petrich

I got the Kindle version when it came out last Wednesday. It has a great job of laying out the text and formatting the equations and figures. Thanx a lot, Peter Turchin.

I’ve been hoping to give away many of my dead-tree books, but I currently live in a very small town without a lot of people who might appreciate some of them. I hope to have most of my books in electronic form, because they are much easier to lug around that way. I expect to keep some of them that I’ve yet to see in electronic form, however, like my collections of Isaac-Asimov essays.

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