Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The FREE All-You-Can-Read Buffet

Right now eight of the top ten bestsellers on Kindle are listed for $0.00, with Andrew Gross's Dark Tide leading the way.

I'm not sure what kind of conclusion to draw from that, but it's interesting.

If you like Whoppers better than Big Macs, but Big Macs are free today, which one will you choose?

Personally, I believe in paying for what you like, but it seems a lot of people are swayed heavily by the word Free.

Is it even a good promotional tool, giving books away? I would like to see the stats on how many people go on to buy something from the author whose work they first got for nothing. I'm betting many of them just move on to the next free thing and never make any actual purchases.



Blogger Mark Terry said...

I would also be curious to know, in the context of Kindles, etc., if the people who download it for free actually read it, or if it sits on their Kindle forever.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I have never downloaded anything free to my Kindle. I know this sounds crazy, but . . . between reading my massive physics books, and my Tolstoys . . . and a few "free" classics (versus new free stuff, so I guess my first statement was sort of incorrect), and buying friends' books, and spiritual books, and my one book group choice per month . . . I would say my "gotta haves" are all based on word of mouth and NY Times reviews and so on. I don't have so much free time that I have to peruse scads of authors I don't know to try to find someone new I like. It might work for other people as a marketing tool. I don't think I am typical.

And therein though (where I think I "might be" typical) lies something about e-pubbing and so on that I think is worth thinking about for those self-e-pubbing (thinking of Konrath's post of yesterday, which I 100% agree with). If NY publishes x books per year, am I REALLY going to search amongst unvetted, untried authors who are self-pubbing to find authors I want to read? Is there really NOTHING exciting and new coming out traditionally? No. Their bar is set about right. Might be difficult for writers and so on, but I can "generally" trust to find authors I really like. So I don't feel ANY need, free or not, to find untested authors.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

That's a good point, Mark. If the books are never read, then giving them away for free is definitely of no value promotion-wise.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

I agree with Joe's post, too, Erica.

Of course Andrew Gross has the co-author history with James Patterson, and he's been a NYT bestseller on his own for a while now, so it sort of makes sense that his free book is at #1. What might be even more interesting, though, is that Harlan Coben's new release Caught, priced at $9.99, is at #3. So it seems people are actually willing to pay (what Konrath considers way too much) for hot new product.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I wasn't really referring to him per se, but the idea that a free book would make me read their other stuff if they were a complete unknown. And I am not willing to pay hardcover prices, but I AM willing to pay $8 or $9 for a book I really want when it is released, before mass market, for my Kindle. I don't know what the price point should be. I don't know if I could, say, buy books for $2 for new releases if I would buy a lot more. I might. But then again, I know, as I said, I am not typical. I seek out very specific niches of reading that aren't really about what's "hot." And for that matter, to read a 600-page physics book that is chock full of science, I feel like, yeah. It's WORTH more. To read a sort of beach-ready throw-away (to me) thriller . . . I don't know that I would pay more than $10. I guess it is all in what you value. Interesting discussion, anyway!


6:04 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

It's definitely all about perception of value, Erica. To maintain that perception among the buying public, I think newly-released ebooks should be priced similarly to trade paperbacks, and then later similarly to mass market paperbacks. That's where most publishers are trying to keep them, it seems.

9:17 PM  

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