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Apr 8, 2013

M.E. Monday #30–Why My Books will Probably Never be Free


Do you want to know how many free eBooks I've downloaded in the last year? 

One hundred and twelve.

Want to know how many of these one hundred and twelve eBooks I've actually read?


In a year, I've read three of the one hundred and twelve eBooks I've downloaded from Amazon, B&N, Smashwords etc. And guess what? Despite great premises, the last two were two of the worst books I've ever read (The Queen's Blade was the good one. GREAT, in fact).

 Want to know how many books I've purchased in the last year?

Between 50-60.

How many have I read?

Forty-two. I read most of the books I purchase within a month or two of purchasing them, especially if they are eBooks (I am a huge eReader fan).

Are you seeing where I'm taking this yet?

I don't read most of the free books I download and I suspect many others don't either. This excludes review books (ARC's from publishers and authors or NetGalley). I accept these free books as part of a deal, a transaction. A book for a review. I'm obligated (in a sense) to read these books and give my opinion. These don't count. Neither do books I receive as part of a giveaway. I played the "game" and won. These are prizes (really, really good prizes), but prizes nonetheless.

I'm talking about books I download on my own accord and forget are on my reader within a few hours. I've wondered for a while why this happens to me time and time again, but I think I've finally figured it out.

I don't value free books.

That's not to say I don't understand and appreciate all the hard work that went into writing the book (of course I do!) or that I don't value my fellow authors. Believe me, I do! I just wonder why so many authors are cool with giving their books away for free. It doesn't make sense to me. You spend months, probably more like years, writing the darn thing, and then you just give it away to any and everybody who wants it (book bloggers excluded)? Hell no. Not happening over here.

Now, I'm not knocking those of you who want to give away your work for free. I'm sure your reasons for doing so are just as valid as mine for not doing so. You want to get your book into the hands of as many people as possible, and just maybe a few of those people will actually read it. Might even write a review. Totally understandable! A lot of downloads also raises your Amazon ranking, I hear. So...I get it.

I just don't understand how this benefits you, the author. Maybe I just need more facts. Does a higher Amazon ranking garner sales for an author's other works? It's quite possible, so if this is a reason, then I understand. That's not enough to make me do it, but I totally get why another author would see the magic in it.

When I initially released Prophecy of the Most Beautiful, it was 99¢. Then $1.99, now $2.99, and that's where it shall stay. I plan to reduce it to 99¢ for the month of July, but then it will go right back to $2.99 in August. But it won't be free. I just can't do it. I feel icky just thinking about it and I don't like feeling icky. I worked too hard on that book and I feel like I'm cheating myself doing that. Maybe I'm being dramatic, but it's how I feel.

Basically, books I've paid for get priority over those that I don't. I not only value paid-for books more, I value my money too! Whether 99¢ or $15.99, money is money. I spent it, on YOUR BOOK, and I'm not about to let my money go to waste. It's as good as read. Maybe not right this second, but soon. It's how I operate. Most of the free eBooks I've downloaded will never be read, and that's just the truth. 

How do you feel about free books?


  1. I usually don't trust free ebooks. More likely than not they are going to be bad. There is a reason they are free right? xD I only download the ones that I recognize, which are very few and far apart. Wonder why...

    1. I totally agree. If I recognize the author or was referred to the book by a trusted friend or blogger then okay. But that hardly EVER happens. So yeah, I so get where you're coming from.

  2. Absolutely agree. I tried the free model at first when everyone was saying the huge advantages it had given their sales. I cry "bull shit". Plus, I being a bit of a frugal person in my own shopping habits find it a bit tacky to say okay if you are online on July 4th my novel is free for two days, if you come to see my book after that I'm going to charge you 4.99.
    To me it seems like the reader that pays 4.99 only to find out it was free yesterday is going to feel a bit stiffed. Stiffed, miffed readers aren't as oblige to leave a 5 star even when they love what they read. I know I'll get crucified for it but if some are miffed at the price, it shows in the review. Just my thoughts.

    1. Yeah, I've definitely been stiffed a few times myself with that crap.

  3. Diantha you are on the money!
    I had plenty of hard work and expense writing/publishing my books.
    If the "procurer" can't afford the price of an inexpensive Kindle, they don't want my book and I won't give it away as if it is valueless!

    1. I mean, really. Ebooks are so cheap. You have a $200 Kindle but can't buy a $2.99 ebook. Get out of here.

  4. I have been an entrepreneur all my life. I enjoy working for myself or on a small scale with others. When I saw the hordes of free books, I was astounded. What it said was that I was in the middle of a group of people (indie writers who represent primarily new writers) who had never been in business. In their great desire to sell their books (and believe me I understand this sentiment), they basically advertised it as a product of dubious value by giving it away. In business you have giveaways, absolutely, but the pros do it only when that product has already established its value. Then it represents a plum, a real deal. Unfortunately, this free foray hurt us all by being a statement to the effect that our products are of questionable value. We are too deeply ingrained in this culture with the notion that valuable commodities are expensive to use any other tack but charge reasonable prices and turn out good work. Increase the price to reflect any significant advance in your expertise as a writer. Be reasonable, fair and offer a quality product and you'll succeed. Save free giveaways for when you have something people already crave.


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