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News, advice and conversation about the Self-Publishing book industry.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Free ebooks

After very careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that the proliferation of free ebooks is killing the market for paid books. I have downloaded many free ebooks. Whenever an author has advertised their book for free on Facebook, or sent me an email about their free ebook I’ve downloaded it to show my support. I am now at the stage that I have over a year’s worth of reading on my Kindle. In other words I do not need to buy another book for quite some time. I know the idea of giving away your work for free is to promote your other books, but does it work? My wife and I have both tried the free ebook route and apart from one or two sales have seen no change. Perhaps everybody else also has loads of free books on their reading devices and will eventually get around to reading our books and then go onto buy our other tomes. I don´t however hold out much hope though. I truly believe that as long as there are free ebooks available very few people are going to put their hands in their pockets to pay for a book.

At the same time I also believe that authors are selling themselves short. I mean $0.99 for your book that took months to write, plus editing, plus producing a cover and everything else that is involved with putting your work out there. The book warrants a better price. You can buy a newspaper for not much more and dispose of that by the end of the day. A cup of coffee, significantly more than a $0.99 ebook is finished within 5 minutes. I know some advocate sell cheap and you will sell lots more, but some people will think, if it is that cheap it can´t be any good. I would think a price of 2/3 of your print book price would be fair, that’s of course if you have a print version. But then of course you come up against my previous argument, free ebooks. A dilemma that that needs thinking about.