Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No More Free Books

Caught your attention, didn't I?

I'm not announcing BREAKING NEWS that there will not be any more books available for free because of some court decision or a change in Kindle Select by Amazon. That's not going to happen. Ever.

No, what I am saying is that the allure of free books has paled for me. Oh, I was like most newbies when I got my nook. I scoured the Barnes and Noble site for free books to download. I figured out how to sideload free books from Project Gutenberg. I eagerly awaited Free Fridays each week to see what treat I could pick up at no cost. And then there were the free promotions. I couldn't turn down a free book, could I?



Pretty soon I had a ton of free books on my nook and, now, my iPad Mini that I hadn't read. I had every intention of reading them. I mean, I loved A Tale of Two Cities when I read it in high school and I always wanted to read it again. And that new paranormal romance, although not my usual cup of tea, sounded intriguing.

And then a funny thing happened. I discovered that when I was ready for the next book, I wasn't starting any of those free downloads. I was much more likely to read a book I'd paid for. Or a book from the library. The free book would be there later.

I think what happened over time was that my brain subconsciously associated a value to the book that was directly related to its cost. We don't value what we receive for free as much as those things we need to work for. Or pay for, in this case.

This was reinforced by the experience I had with reading most of those books I'd gotten for free. I found them poorly edited, poorly written, and not at all interesting. Not all of them, of course. The free book I read by Amanda Hocking fell into the poorly edited classification, but she's such a great storyteller I could overlook the missteps in punctuation.

I was shocked when I read the first-in-series-free book of a wildly successful self-published author. It had all the editing and formatting errors I spoke about, plus it was repetitious and silly. Instead of acting as a motivator to buy her other books, I swore I'd never pay for anything written by her. I couldn't finish the free book.

I've had that same experience several times. It's depressing because I'd really like to believe that self-published authors are good writers. There are some, but it's certainly not the norm. In my experience. Maybe I just choose badly. If anyone can recommend some free books that are the equal of the ones I pay for, I'd be happy to hear about them.

But, for now, I have enough books on my nook/iPad. It will be a long time before I run out of things to read.
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