The thing is, it’s too easy to find free eBooks, and I’m not talking about pirate sites. The Kindle Store has dozens of free titles, in just about any genre you can name, and the list changes daily. So, before you realize it, you’ve downloaded a pile of books that sound interesting. If they were paperbacks, you could fill a full-size bookshelf with the bounty. To have some chance of reading everything, you swear off the free lists, at least until you can whittle down the pile—but then your social-network friends post links to more free books that they think sound cool. And even adding only two new ones a week, that to-read shelf isn’t getting any smaller.
So you start ignoring the links. Then authors on Goodreads and other places send you “invites” to download a free copy of one of their titles. For some of them, you can avoid the temptation. Some. And then…
I opened Gmail last week, to find that one Winston Emerson sent me the following missile, I mean missive:
Hello everyone. This past Wednesday, I took a major blow to the head by a ten-foot cedar post. Today, I'm giving away free digital copies of The Object: Book One to everyone in my email list and anyone else I can find.
One thing has nothing to do with the other.
Attached were MOBI, EPUB, RTF, and PDF versions of his book.
So I guess there’s no avoiding free eBooks, because they’ll follow you home if nothing else.
This isn’t a method of distribution I’d recommend to anyone, especially if you don’t have an established relationship with the recipients. Since he serialized his novel (and plans to start his next one in May), I took the opportunity to point him at TuesdaySerial instead of admonishing him about spamming. I just hope this doesn’t set a precedent; I think the last thing we all need is having our inboxes clogged with free eBooks.
I spent some of my holiday/sick downtime trying to put a dent in my own huge to-read pile. Odd thing, several of the titles I thought I’d like were both poorly written and poorly formatted. On the other hand, one I didn’t think I’d get into, The Black Opera, has the kind of production values I aspire to with my own titles. And it’s engaging.
I need to grit my teeth and write a few reviews, but the book prep has been demanding most of my writing time right now.