Paywall Parkour: How to Rip Off Your Friends

Image - iStockphoto: -michal-
Image – iStockphoto: -michal-

Very pleased to have this essay made the first in a new “Dealbreaker” series at Jane Friedman and Manjula Martin’s terrific new quarterly Scratch — to which I hope you’ll subscribe. This piece is in the “Community” section, not behind the paywall, and you can read it free along with other sample posts at the site.


So here was this group of publishing colleagues. If you follow book publishing these days, chances are you’d know every one of them. They were exchanging notes on a private listserv. They were discussing something with their usual vehemence. No doubt, Amazon was involved.

A recent paywalled news article on the topic came up.

Within minutes, one of these publishing people had dropped the full copy of that paywalled news article onto the listserv. This allowed all the members to read it without paying.

Several of these correspondents quickly thanked the one who had provided the free text.

Thank you for pulling it out from behind the wall!

Thanks for freeing up that story!

A couple more asked how one could routinely read paywalled material free.

One list member, whose job it is to curate and flag material for libraries, was able to fill them in on some techniques. I have no more interest in repeating that information here than I have in seeing the ages-old family secret recipe for Campari passed around on the oh-so-Open Web. Unless you want to hand that recipe to me, of course.

An author friend of mine soon landed in the middle of the conversation. This is not nobody. This is a writer who was headed soon after that to the equivalent of her country’s White House for a reception. But here she was, joining the others in the pleasure of seeing the pertinent article “pulled from behind the paywall.”

I was out of there.

Read the full story at

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

A Scratch Magazine “Dealbreaker”: Paywall Parkour: How To Rip Off Your Friends

Originally published by Thought Catalog at



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