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Does FREE even work when it comes to books?

Opening the email inbox this morning, I can see that my monthly free magazine of short stories have arrived. Volume 6 or something. Could be Volume 2 or 150 it makes no difference. I haven't even read the first 5 magazines. It's not because I don't want to read these stories. It's because they have nil value.

You mean I can stop eating this stuff because I didn't pay for it?
That's what free books are. Nil value. I can slip over the free books on the kindle, I can stop reading halfway through, or stop after the first chapter. Yet if I've paid money for a book, well I want to keep reading till the end to get my money's worth. Same as if I pay $5 for a bottle of shampoo, I'm gonna use it all up even if I have to slice open the top and scoop out the goo with my finger.

Free books are a useful marketing tool to attract new readers. That's what everyone says. And I can see the point of the exercise.  But, does free even work when it comes to books?

In 2013 I self published LITTLE RED GEM, and I gave away 30 copies through Library Thing in the hopes of readers enjoying the book so much they'd write wonderful reviews. 30 copies is a lot, it's also not a lot. An author or publisher can give away up to 100 copies of an ebook to readers.

I've received one review from this free read exercise. Other reviews on this site cam from paid promotions. Yet everyone was quick to grab the free copy and I get it. Hey, if someone is handing out something for free at the mall I take it and run, check it out when I get home, then I toss the grape peeling wonder device in the bin because who cares, I didn't pay for it.

Free is a quick impulse, must have grab. If someone's just gonna throw it out, might as well take it.

In my case, giving away 30 copies didn't attract readers, followers, fans, or sales, and why would it if nobody even opens the book to read it and just skips it over it on their kindle because, hey I didn't pay for it, so who really cares?

What do you do with the free stuff you get? Do you use it? Treasure it? Chuck it away?

I'd love to hear your stories.


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