Thursday 9 March 2017

'Free' Books

I'm not sure how I feel about books being 'bought' for free, zilch, gratis on Amazon (or anywhere). I feel for the authors who have put their heart, soul and billions of hours into writing the book in the first place, not to mention into finding a publisher. And let's not forget them. Trust me, it's not long lunches and sparkly launches (at least not every day), my publisher is the person who emails me latest at night and if my work account pings at me at the weekend, it's most likely to be the irrepressible and fiercely devoted, seven-day-a-week working, Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications.

The argument is that free reads increase readership and the more people shout about the book, the more copies it will sell overall. If I'm anything to go by, I should also add that much as we'd all love our books to be in the front window of Waterstones – not that I'm complaining about Glass Houses being on a shelf much further back, you understand – being a bestseller is not the only or even the principal driver of becoming an author, it's the urge to tell a story. If that story is being read for free, that has to be better than it not being read at all, doesn't it?

I also acknowledge that freebies are standard practice for most organisations, particularly new ones, which is what every book is when it's published; it's a new business all in itself. Money-off vouchers encourage us to try new products, free test-runs allow us to try before we buy. When a book can be read for free, however, it just feels a little like a clothing company giving away the whole suit including design, fitting, tailoring and yes, we'll throw in free delivery, instead of offering a free tie, or a restaurant giving away the whole meal, rather than a drink and an enthusiastic welcome.

So, I remain undecided on whether it's a good thing or not for a book to be 'sold' for free and I'd welcome your thoughts.
Meanwhile, I don’t see a system changing anytime soon and for the next few hours only, Glass Houses is free on Kindle. I can't pretend it isn't exciting seeing the cover of my book at #2 in free Kindle bestsellers in Psychological Fiction and #6 in Contemporary Women's Fiction, so lovely to think people are interested in my story. 

It would be even better to think that some of the people who downloaded Glass Houses went on to read the book and that they were delighted they had. And, if those people felt inclined to leave a review, well, that would make me very happy indeed😊 


  1. My initial reaction was to think it must be gut wrenching to see your hard work being given away for free. However if ultimately you sell more books after the promotion and get a wider readership, then maybe it's a good thing. My solution (unwittingly at the time) was to buy your book a few weeks ago and then tell my partner that it was now free to download on Kindle. Win win... ;-)

    1. Sounds perfect, Nigel, thank you! And seriously, I agree, the absolute bottom line is that I'd like as many people as possible to read and enjoy my books. If I could earn a few pennies for me and my long suffering family in lieu of the hours and hours and hours spent in my study, well, that would be the icing on the cake :) Thanks for reading!


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