I remember reading a few years back an article discussing the worries of writers and publishers about eBook piracy. The fears expressed in that article, that books would soon be subjected to the same large scale piracy the music and movie industries have been fighting for some time now seemed frankly overblown to me. Though who could have imagined that free would become the new default price point for books.
I have been very much enjoying my new tablet as an eReader. I have read a number of books already and have several more downloaded and waiting for my attention. I have not actually bought and paid for any books so far. As a book reviewer, I have long had a firm policy of not buying books. It’s just so much easier to tell any author friends who ask that I just can’t ever under any circumstances buy, and if they want me to review it they’ll have to send me a review copy. The review copies, which I have at times received from publishers, publicists and authors themselves have been a great perk for being a book reviewer. (Though the fact is I don’t have all that much space and I regularly donate most of the review copies I’ve received to the friends of the library.)
Since getting my tablet I have downloaded scores of eBooks, most all of them at the price point free. As a reader, I can’t help but be pleased. I’ve known of course that authors who enroll their book in Amazon’s exclusive program pick I believe two free days for promoting their book. I also noticed that Amazon has many out of copyright older books– which have been available through Project Gutenberg for some time, in their listings. Another thing I’ve found a lot of are series mystery novels, where only the first in the series is offered free. And I’ve been genuinely amazed at how many free books there are. I have to say as a writer it frightens me a bit. I’ve long felt that #indie writers were going to eat big publishing’s lunch, because New York has been greedy and short-sighted about eBook pricing. But if readers can get their fill for free, why would anyone buy a book anymore? It seems to me that authors need to re-think how much they are giving away.