Free ebooks. Like them, or loathe them?
Readers mostly seem to love them. As a reader, I do! Free books can feel like a gift from an author you know and enjoy, and a low risk way to discover new-to-you authors or start reading a new series. And for an author, there can be surprising advantages to either offering a book permanently free or doing a run of free days. Many readers don’t realise just how much them downloading a book offered for free can help the author!
Okay, there are also few good reasons for us not to offer books for free. I totally understand why some authors just don’t do it. Most readers (including me!) have far more books than we’ll ever manage to read on our ereaders, and we regularly add more. The huge majority of free downloads are never read.
Plus, many authors feel offering books for free devalues their work and encourages readers to expect all books should be free. Some readers even brag about never buying a book, ever. Ouch! Thankfully, not anyone here!
The other biggie for authors – those “readers” who make a habit of downloading freebies simply for the fun of leaving a scathing review. Occasionally when I get a really bad review after free days, I click through to see what else that reader has reviewed. Maybe their comments are valid and I need to consider what I can learn from them. Maybe they just don’t read Christian romance. Maybe they enjoy my other books but this one hit the wrong notes for them. I’ve been shocked more than once to find the reviewer has left a long string of 1* reviews, all for books offered for free recently. And nothing but 1* reviews for free ebooks. Double ouch!
Despite the risk of bad reviews and the probability that 90% of people who download the freebie may never read it, I love offering my books on short-term free days. I can’t give away all my books, as each book costs at least $500 to produce and launch. But God has told me He wants me giving books away whenever I can. It’s a way to help my readers on a low or fixed income to get some of my books. I know many of my readers are on tight budgets.
Plus, an author can benefit in so many ways from putting a book on free days! Every free download helps make the book more visible on Amazon, increasing the chances our stories of love and faith will reach new readers. A percentage of the readers who do read the free book and enjoy it, will leave a nice review (thank you, authors love genuine honest reviews!). Another percentage of who read the freebie will go on to get more of the author’s other books (thank you, we love sales and KU borrows too!). Then there’s the wonderful boost to Kindle Unlimited page reads that usually follows some temporary free days.
So please, when you see a favorite author has a book on free days or a permanently free book, know you’re helping them reach more readers by downloading it. And if you have KU, don’t feel you’re short-changing authors you want to support by reading a KU borrowed copy of their book rather than purchasing. It all helps!
What’s your approach to free ebooks? Are you highly selective, even with books in your favorite genre, or do you tend to download any freebie that looks like something you might enjoy? Have you discovered new authors then bought or borrowed their other books after reading a freebie? I’d love to hear what you think!
Not entirely coincidentally (okay, not in the least coincidentally!), Together for Christmas, my four book boxed set, is on free days till midnight on the 16th. If you don’t have a copy, I do hope you’ll download it while it’s free! The free pricing should be available worldwide. If not let me know and I’ll arrange to get a free copy to you.
And for more free books you can trust will be genuinely clean and Christian, some of the Inspy authors have permanently free ebooks, posted here. Two other longer-term free ebooks from Inspy authors are Jan Thompson’s Know You More, and Marion Ueckermann’s Dancing in the Rain.
Plus, as I mentioned reviews, I want to let you all know I’ll soon be opening my review and launch teams to new members. Book blogger and dear friend Paula Marie will manage a Facebook group, specifically for readers who’d love to do a little extra to support my book launches or sales! To know more, just say so in the comments or reach out to one of us with a Facebook PM. And if you prefer not to use Facebook but enjoy my books and want to join my review team (it can all be done via email), just let me know!
I hope the rest of your month is wonderful!