The Necessity of Free Books

The day I got my first library card was a 5-star day for me. Even when I moved to Germany, while my husband was in the Army, one of the first things I did was get a card for the base library. As a child, I couldn’t afford to buy books at all, nor did I buy more than a few books during the years I raised my sons. But as our family income increased, I bought just about any book I wanted. Now, as a retiree, that’s over.

library_signI’ve always used the public library to check out the books I didn’t necessarily want to own and to try new authors. And now I’m back to using it almost exclusively. But in this digital age, I have another option—free eBooks. Like most of you, when I got my first eReader, I loaded it up with free books, most of which I’ve never looked at since.

I’m more selective now. I read the descriptions and download only books I think may appeal to me. Not all of them end up drawing me in, of course, and I delete them. But I’ve read many good books I wouldn’t have been able to read if they hadn’t been offered freely.

Part of the drawback of self-publishing is that most of those books will never make it to a library—not even on the digital “shelves.” That’s why I make limited free offers of my books. I know there are others out there like me who are pitifully sad without books to read.

So, to those authors who’ve made it possible for me to read their work freely either by contest, free download, library availability, or by allowing me to beta read, I say THANK YOU.
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6 thoughts on “The Necessity of Free Books

  1. Hi, Linda. *waves* Thanks for sharing this perspective. I’m not sure it’s one we’ve heard in the argument over free books. I know I haven’t, nor have I considered it before. I’ll be a bit more cautious before simply waving my hand at the whole issue…
    How are things? I have four days before my big release, so feel free to engage me in conversation and distract me from the anticipation and the whole studying of my book’s Amazon ranking. *laughs*
    Have a great day!

    -Jimmy

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  2. LOVE my library. I grew up going to the library and now I take my daughter often. It has always been incredible to me to have all that information in one place, like a building that holds hundreds of portals to other worlds. I’m hoping I can pass that on to my kids, too.

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  3. Free books are a wonderful thing, but I do think you point out the flaw in free books in the digital age. Most of the time, they just don’t get read. So what is the point? I don’t offer my books free very often either.

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    1. Yes, Michelle, I know a small percentage of the freebies will be read, but for me, the point is that one of those people might be the one who reads it and becomes my biggest MOUTH–as in word of mouth. I’ve had some good reviews from those who got Brevity free. That said, I don’t plan on giving away thousands of copies of Illusion.

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