Reactions to Free E-books

Lately, I can’t help myself but notice a new emerging movement of free e-books haters. Mind you, I’m not talking about the pirated free e-books haters. That emotional response to copyright infringement is congruent. I mean a group of people, who dislikes the fact that:

1) free e-books exist;

2) free e-books are popular among readers.

direct publishingWhere do I see these people? Well, they tend to hang out around Kindle-related websites leaving vehement anti-free e-books comments here and there. You probably know what I’m talking about.

To my astonishment, I discovered a common trait among the free e-book haters (how about I just call them FEH): they tend to be authors themselves. So, why would the wise writers be so against the fact that their fellow writer decided to offer his/hers work for free?

It appears that FEH perceive readers as ungrateful, evil crocodiles who only want to consume free stuff and never pay for the literary labor. Well, that’s just silly! A thankful reader, who enjoyed a freebie will always go looking for more books by the author he/she enjoyed.

So, I have a theory. You see, FEH usually are recently sprouted authors with one e-published work, with some useless subject matter, say How to Choose Your Paper Mate Pen Wisely: a Very Thorough Guide (sponsored by Paper Mate). So, if they put their sole literary child out there for free, then how would they make their first billion? And that’s how we get “Free e-books spoil people! Let’s close all the public libraries!” (© imaginary FEH).

Of course, this theory relies on a completely hypothetical situation, which is most likely absurdly inaccurate. However, the point is that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) influenced publishing towards making it more accessible. As a result, the modern literary world not only expanded, but also became more commercialized. There are many emerging authors, who write not for the love of writing, but for the chance to “win” a lottery in publishing business. And the concept of free books is just standing in their way.

I hope I’m wrong about it. Although, if I’m somewhere close to the truth – dear FEH, your chances to make a fortune on a useless guide will come true only in case if a million of e-book shoppers will stumble and fall on “buy this guide” button. Or, it might be one unfortunate shopper – stumbling and falling a million times. Perhaps, you might need to reconsider changing a profession from a pure business person to a business person, who writes well. And very possibly, the hostility toward free e-books will somewhat diminish in its proportions.

Yours truly,

– one (e-)book(/guide) author

6 thoughts on “Reactions to Free E-books”

  1. Which goes right along with the authors who think a .99 cent price point ‘devalues’ their work. What a joke. Their work is what the market is willing to pay for it – no more or less.

    I like ‘FEH’ since it rhymes with ‘Meh’ and that sums up what I think of these people. Ha ha!

  2. I imagine that you’re absolutely correct, just from my limited interactions with people in that category.

    Personally I love free ebooks as much as I like anything free (not as good as beer, but still…) AND I’m a author (way past my first). Then again, I don’t try in any way to make a living from my “useless subject matter” ;-).

    Frankly, I’m not sure how anyone makes a living writing these days, but I don’t think free ebooks are the issue. At least they’re far from the primary issue.

  3. I can never understand this mentality. Amazon was giving away the ebook ‘Medicus’ for a short period – I grabbed it, read it & gladly ponied up the $10 or so for the other 4 books in the series. Seems like win/win for the author, Amazon and me.

  4. I wonder what they think of the public library? If you think about it, an e-book selling for .99 is probably making more money for the author. If free is enough to give me a taste of something good, I’ll buy the rest.

    In fact, I haven’t had the chance to start on them yet, but I bought all the John Locke thrillers. I’ve wasted more than five bucks on a paperback that has moved an author to my “don’t bother” list, and these have decent reviews and longevity.

  5. Actually, I find that every subject matter has these detractors. When I go to video game forums, or to computer building sites, there is always that group of people who freak out about anything free, or anything different. And they come in two flavors, those who do nothing but put things down, and those who talk about nothing but another way of life. The only conclusion I can draw, is that they are actually paid to go online and post these things. Their comments seem to be fabricated according to a script. As someone who deplores this kind of behavior, I’ll be supporting this listing of free e-books, and my company will try and host a section of its own.

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