The Art of Community Now Available For Free Download

When I started work on The Art of Community I was really keen that it should be a body of work that all communities have access to. My passion behind the book was to provide a solid guide to building, energizing and enabling pro-active, productive and enjoyable communities. I wanted to write a book that covered the major areas of community leadership, distilling a set of best practices and experiences, and illustrated by countless stories, anecdotes and tales.

But to give this book real value, I was keen to ensure the book could be freely accessed and shared. I wanted to not only break down the financial barrier to the information, but also enable communities to share it to have the content be as useful as possible in the scenarios, opportunities and problems that face them. To make this happen O’Reilly needed to be on board to allow the book to be freely copied and shared, in an era in which these very freedoms threaten the publishing world.

But they came through. Thanks to the incredible support of Andy Oram, my founding editor for the book, O’Reilly were hugely supportive of the project and our desire to break down these barriers.

Today I am pleased to announce the general availability of The Art Of Community under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

With this license that the book is under you have the following freedoms with the entire content:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work

…with a few requirements:

  • Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

While the book is ready to download right now, the book is available to buy in print, on Kindle, and other electronic book formats and I would like to encourage you to buy a printed copy of the book for a few reasons:

  • Firstly, buying a copy sends a tremendous message to O’Reilly that they should continue to publish books (a) about community and (b) under a Creative Commons license.
  • Secondly, it will encourage O’Reilly to invest in a second edition of the book down the line, which will in turn mean that communities around the world will have a refreshed and updated edition that is available to them.
  • Thirdly, aside from the voting-with-your-feet side of things, it is just a really nice book to own in print. It is really well made, looks stunning and feels great to curl up with in a coffee shop or on the couch.

The book is available to buy on all the major Amazon sites:

Even if you don’t buy it, I would be hugely grateful that if you like it, please go and review it on Amazon. This is a hugely contribution. Thanks!

You can download the The Art of Community here.

73 Responses to “The Art of Community Now Available For Free Download”

  1. matthew September 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    Jono, you rock.

  2. David Gmz September 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Brilliant! Thank you so much. I’ll spread the word on this.

  3. Rodrigo Flores September 19, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Seems an excelent book! I’m gonna start reading it right now!

  4. Andy Cater September 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    +1 you rock

    I’ve actually bought a hard copy and read it cover to cover. It’s good enough that I want to take it into my day job where they’re trying to revitalise and reorganise. Soft copy will help enormously here – but I’ll strenuously suggest that people also get hard copies.

    Site was unreachable earlier – Slashdotted? – but is fine now.

    Many thanks for all your hard work.

  5. J.B. Nicholson-Owens September 19, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    I suggest clarifying the licensing within the book PDF. Page 12 in the PDF says “Copyright © 2009 Jono Bacon. All rights reserved.” without any licensing details. It’s my understanding that the Creative Commons brand emphasizes that under CC licenses only some rights are reserved. It would be helpful to know what those rights are; perhaps including a copy of the license text in the book would let readers know what their rights are without requiring network access?

    Other text on page 25 says “This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike license.” but which version of that license? There are at least 3 versions I’m aware of at this time. Under which legal regime? CC offers different licenses in different languages to be used in different legal regimes. Your website currently says this book is licensed under v3.0 unported but that could change, and not everyone who gets a copy of the PDF will have access to your website.

  6. Dave Chonurous September 20, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    Thank you very much, don’t forget to try this awesome game:

  7. Cinmay September 20, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    I can’t thank you enough :D this is going to be so cool :D

  8. Jonas September 20, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    Great! Actually just bought a copy. To bad it takes a week or two to arrive. But I’m very excited to read it, the first chapter was excellent!

  9. Bassel September 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    Great work Jono..


  10. Malcolm Bastien September 21, 2009 at 4:03 am #

    I’m sorry I didn’t continue to be a part of this blog and community as your were working on the book (I still see the comment box is all light grey-on white agrghhh….), but I’m happy to see your book come to a beautiful finish.

    A derivatives CC license is surprising to see as well! Even though other authors have given the ebook version of their books out for free I don’t think I’ve yet seen anyone actually use a CC not to mention derivates permitted cc license.

    This is one I’m buying off Amazon Canada just for you dude.

  11. Meredith September 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    That is really awesome! I bought the book for my library because 1) It’s a great topic, 2) I believe strongly in what you’re doing in offering the book for free and 3) students and faculty will be more likely to find it (and read it) if it’s in our collection. I just started reading it and I think it’s awesome so far. I teach a class on social software at SJSU (the library and information science program) and think I may assign some chapters from this the next time I teach the class!

  12. Aero September 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Start to download. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Patrick Anderson September 28, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    Where is the best place to report a typo (online version)?

    Hmm… We could even use Bug-Tracking and Version Control to work toward the next edition.

  14. Daniel September 29, 2009 at 4:34 am #

    I picked up the hard copy and started reading this a couple of days ago.

    Fantastic so far, it has given me lots to think about.

    Time to take another look at my company’s own community I feel.

  15. The Viking October 5, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    Hey! I’m impressed–another book released under a CC licence. And yes, I have seen other Creative Commons books, not that I can remember their names.

    Just a note: in your Foreword, you mention the phrase: Tempers flair, … you would no doubt have realised that’s supposed to be “Tempers flare, …”

    Hope that helps you in your effort to bring even more excellence to your work.

    Thank you.

  16. DN October 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    Great work Jono..


  17. Amran Noordin October 6, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    Whoopee. I have been eyeing this book for the past two weeks. Now I can get it online free. Fantastic, Jono. Million thanks. And I may still buy it.

  18. Rommel October 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    Excelente, muchísimas gracias por tu contribución al FLOSS y a la comunidad, haré un articulo en mi blog al respecto, espero tu libro me ayude a crear una comunidad alrededor de el.

    Excellent, thanks so much for your contribution to the FLOSS and the community, I’ll be writing about it in my blog, I hope your book helps me to build a community around it.

  19. Peanut October 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Could you please darken up the text on this site to make it easier to read? Please let me know either way, by reply post. Thanks.


  20. andrea October 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm #


  21. mikeelrapido October 13, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Just great work – I can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for leting us read it for free..

  22. frank October 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Thank you,Man!

  23. Matt November 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    Fantastic, there is not enough information on this topic and ‘free’ makes it accessable to all. Will purchase multiple copies after the 1st read.

  24. Shruti Goradia November 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Bought the book last week, its been a great read so far. We’ve just launched a new Photo Project community at Kodak ( The book is going to be very useful in managing the community

  25. bowerbird November 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    pro bono is bono. thank you.


  26. bowerbird November 8, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    i would love to see this in a format that is more amenable to remixing.

    as an .rtf, or in its original format…


  27. Robyn McMaster November 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Valeria, you must feel a sense of great accomplishment, not only in completing your book, but in talking O’Reilly to “give away” to be used by many. Thanks so much for your leadership!

  28. Anderson Criativo November 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    Congratulations from Brazil. I”ll read the book and spread your attitude.

  29. Thomas November 8, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    Thanks for this Download. This topic is one of the greatest every one must know about them.

    Top Article THX Thomas

  30. Vasudev Ram November 13, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    Thanks for making the book available for download. But the download link doesn’t seem to be working. Could you please check and fix that.

    Thanks, Vasudev Ram

  31. Kasique November 16, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    Excellent expample for an artistic marketing strategy within communities: The Go Beyond Borders Project is an initiative of Heimat Berlin and CNN International in conjunction with Berlin Tape Artist El Bocho.

    The project marks the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and comprises of 8 Street Art Installations telling historic stories where they happened along the original divide between East and West. 40 km of Go Beyond Borders Tape was produced to define the original position of the Wall, and information posters with QR codes lead the viewers online to more content including a Google map of the project and historic video material bringing them deeper into the story.

    The action also marks the launch of CNN’s new International slogan: Go Beyond Borders.

    The Beyond Borders team wish to thank the City of Berlin, the Wall AG, the Marriott Hotel, The Deutsche Bahn and Axel Springer Publishing for their support in this project.

    See the Beyond Borders Google Map at:

    Find our photo gallery at

    Share your own Berlin Wall story at

  32. Krishna December 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Awesome Book!

  33. Vieckthor December 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Thank You very much for the book!

    Communities is one hot topic. Regards…

  34. Anonymous November 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    It is great you provide your work with a creative commons license. I am a student and buying the book is not an option at the moment. Thank you very much.

  35. Anonymous February 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    You’re at our Blog today@ Keep up the great work documenting what folks are doing.


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