What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

Free Books.001

Only everything!!!

The fact that today’s readers of eBooks demand they must be free or on offer as part of an all you can read for x number of dollars per month package deal, is just so wrong!

Face it people, when you go to your supermarket to get your groceries, or to any other retail outlet you care to name, do you get what you want for nothing? No of course not. So why should you expect to get a book for free? I’ve heard some people claim it should be free because an eBook isn’t a real book, only an electronic file. Good grief morons, try engaging your brains for once in your lives! These same idiots argue that they should be able to download their favourite music for free as well. I have just two words on that particular subject – Taylor Swift!!! We need someone like her to stand up for the largely toothless contributing authors of this world…

Thanks to Amazon belabouring the fact that eBooks are electronic files, the concept of never paying for any eBook written by an Indie has become the norm. How many of you feel guilty about reading that eBook you got for nothing? More to the point, how many of those free eBooks you downloaded, have you actually read, let alone reviewed?

Doesn’t it bother you that the eBook’s author invested several months, or in some cases, years writing it? If not, it damned well should!

It’s high time you all grew a conscience and put yourselves in the author’s place for once. After all, would you go into work if you knew that you would not receive a salary for your hard work? Of course you wouldn’t!

More fool us for loving the written word, to the point where we sweat blood like you wouldn’t believe to bring you that latest book. Common decency demands that we are owed monetary recompense for all our hard work in the form of royalties, no matter the price of the book in question.

Unfortunately these days most Indies are lucky if their titles sell in the dozens per annum. Thanks to Amazon’s penny pinching change in how they pay royalties, known as KENPR or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, combined with your own equally selfish attitude towards the product of our labours, if any writer thinks they will become rich these days, they’re seriously kidding themselves. We’re no different to you in that we need money to survive, but thanks to Amazon and uncaring people like you, 99.999% of Amazon’s Indie authors consider themselves lucky if they make maybe a couple of hundred dollars (US) yearly from writing.

Remember this tightwads – authors never receive royalties from those free copies you all greedily help yourselves too.

PS – if you agree with me, reblog this!!!


67 thoughts on “What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

  1. You’re a science fiction reader, Jack. Have you come across any stories that deal with a future where artistic content is generated by computers because artists can longer earn a living from their work? There are stories about societies where art is banned, but I’m not aware of a story that deals with the consequences of ‘no more artists.’

    It’s worth considering. When art, music, literature, drama, poetry are reduced to nothing more than recreational apps computer generated by Google and Amazon to distract people on their way to work, would life become worse, better, no different?

    Musicians can turn to live performances to supplement their dwindling income from recordings, but what’s the author’s alternative, or the poet’s? I suppose Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Jeff Bezos’ dream is to invent a robot author that passes the Turing Test, and then deluge society with enough ‘perfect’ literature to last forever!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    I agree with Jack…
    Apart from Free Book Promotions, I’ve recently been sent Amazon Gift Vouchers from about 5 or 6 authors, or their ‘Agents’, for their books (with no obligation to review them!?!?) and had to email them asking that they send the vouchers to someone else because:
    (a) They should have checked with me first if I’d accept these ‘Gifts’
    (b) I already have a months long backlog of TBR/R books I’m working my way through.
    (c) Some of them I’d never chose to read anyway because they’re not what I like to read.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I found your page through Ally Bally’s Blog and I must say your strong words have resonated with me. I am currently writing my first book and have started kicking around how I want to publish. this post expresses my concerns about the independent route. It makes no sense why there are so many giveaways as it creates a buying habit in the market and trains buyers to not purchase ebooks. Why buy if you can get for free? There seems to be a breakdown somewhere in the mix that must be fixed or authors will become a dying breed. IMHO

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not sure about the KU pay-par-page read model yet, Jack. Hopefully when I get my sales data for July from Amazon I will be able to say if it is fair or not. But one thing is for sure, under the previous KU borrow ‘all you can eat’ model, I am sure very few books were being read. Even though a KU subscriber pays $9.99 per month, it must feel like free ebooks to them after one or two books.

    The new KU system does feel a bit voyeuristic though, watching in almost real time as a blue line tells me that readers are reading my book.

    As for free ebook giveaways for promotion, I still get pretty good sales from them, as I have a good back list to promote, so I can’t whinge too much. It’s cheaper than paying for advertising, so for me it’s still a viable promotional tool.

    But for writers with one, two or even three titles, I’m not sure how much benefit there is.

    The only certainly it that free is always the best price. But I think this is more about an ingrained Internet mentality, rather than a book issue. I know many readers who never download free ebooks, as they view them as cheap crap, which wouldn’t be worth reading. I know my wife is one of this crowd.

    I have also noticed that increasing my book prices has increased my unit sales, so this tells me that there are many readers who view cheap, as nasty.

    So maybe in the end, free ebooks are probably only serving those few with the Internet mentality of ‘anything for free’ is good, and then download and add to their huge, never read collection. So I don’t see too much damage being done to my sales from that, because at least they help increase my book rankings a little.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun and commented:
    Whenever you download and read a free eBook, you should write a review. That’s what I do. Any time I’ve read a free eBook, I post a review on here and on Goodreads (and I should on Amazon). In the future, if they have the book available in print through Createspace, I do plan to buy it. I’m a book collector, and I love my books.

    When I publish my books, I will likely set a reasonable price, say around $3.99, which is pretty common. Will I do free promotional giveaways? Unlikely. I’ll do promotional discounts, though. Most likely about $0.99 for a limited time. From what I’ve read, free eBooks usually aren’t read, but people who see a cheap deal and pay for it, will likely read it and quite possibly leave a review. At least that’s what I would hope.

    Anyway, read the full post and comment there.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Reblogged this on Joy Lennick and commented:
    Giving a book for charity is one thing. I hardly think Amazon and Kindle come under that heading! Writers are not usually greedy people, but fair’s fair. All artists and creative folk – who give pleasure and entertainment to millions – deserve to be paid for their work,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It started with the Gutenberg Project and “all books should be free” mentality. I have to add this seems to have emerged from the open source community, who share programs and upgrades for free. What they forget in the process however, is that the people who program improvements on e.g. Firefox are paid for their work, usually by large commercial companies that want to break the death-grip of the monopolies of Microsoft and Google. So while the end user gets free programs (often serving as a beta tester in the process), the programmer does indeed get paid.

    The same does not hold true for books which are always written by individuals, and basically never paid for upfront (like a program would).

    Yes, it is sad. If you look at the way classical music died out, you’ll spot a pattern… and that scifi scenario with no more stories because authors gave up, doesn’t look that far-fetched at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    It is an author’s choice at the end of the day.. I have not offered any of my books for free. However, because my first book was meant to convey a message about obesity I have chosen to serialise on my blog. I am planning a new version at the end of the year and for me it offers an opportunity to receive feedback directly in the comments rather than wait for a review (that might not be accepted if the reviewer is an acquaintance, shares the same postcode, popped into my facebook page, or had the same first name!! As Jack says, blood, sweat and tears went into writing our books and unless there is a specific reason for a short term offer then it rarely produces more sales.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I just got my KDP July sales figures from Amazon, and for KU pay page per read, for my shorter books I lose, down from $1.35 per borrow to $1.00 per full read, but for the longer ones I win. Up from $1.35 to about $1.75. It seems to average about $0.006 per page of around 180 words. So one of my books at 446 pages earned me $2.58 per full read. And that about equals my royalty for a sale. So all things considered, it’s not so bad.

    But as you say, Jack, if only we could get rid of free bloody ebooks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post!!!! When I started on my travels as an independent author all the recommendations said – have free promotions. But I have since learned the errors of my way (thanks to all my blogging friends). And now I feel like a total dufus for following such bad advice. I completely agree with you – makes total sense. I will never give my book away free again. Oh and I just discovered that my book is on a couple of free downloads websites. I hope whoever is downloading my book on those websites is enjoying it and maybe through some stroke of luck they will write a review (but most likely not).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You have a point, but as with everything there are two sides to it.
    First off I want to let it be known I’m working on a book, so I’m paying a lot of attention to this debate and I’m not just an idiot who wants something for nothing.
    I see a use for free books to reach people that might never have heard of your book otherwise.
    I’ve discovered more new authors (which I will and do buy their other works) than I would have otherwise if I would have just gone looking for a book.
    Also, unfortunately, a lot of the Indy books out there are not worth the price asked. I’ve read a lot of good books, but I’ve also found a lot that I can’t even finish, which I hate to admit as I pride myself in finishing the books I start.
    I do try to leave reviews for all the ebooks I read and enjoy, both the free ones and the ones I buy.
    My problem with buying an ebook from an author I’ve never read before is the price, I don’t mind spending .99 for a book I may or may not enjoy., but $3.99 give or take for an ebook? Only for authors I really enjoy.
    I’m really happy to see that many authors are releasing the first book in a series for free, that allows me to try it at no risk, if I’m hooked, there are other books I can buy right away.
    I’ll admit that I might be in the minority here.
    This is just my opinion and I thank you for the opportunity to express it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Reblogged this on lisa emme and commented:
    A rant for Monday. I totally agree. I will not undersell the value of my hard work. When authors give away their work for free or sell it for next to nothing, it hurts the independent publishing community as a whole by perpetuating the idea that indies are worth less.


  13. Well Jack, you’ve said what many of us authors are thinking, and perhaps didn’t dare say. We don’t want to upset the amazon gods that trickle our meager drippings to us. You are so right when saying that free and cheap have become an expected thing with our books without anyone taking in consideration that we spend our lifetimes writing books, researching, revising, editing, and on and on, only to have to give it away free to get us up the ranks. And come to think of it, hmm, I don’t recall going to a store and being offered anything else on this planet free. This kindle page reading chart is annoying. They’ve figured out a way to make money for themselves by readers signing up for ‘all you can eat’. At least before we got a bit back from our book being downloaded in the program, even if not read. Now it’s by the page, and author’s like me who enjoy writing shorter essay novels are getting less from that new pot. Should this propel authors to write big fat books full of filler crap just to get more page reads? I’m so reblogging this! Thanks. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

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  15. Reblogged this on J Barron Owens and commented:
    A bit of an angry post, but his point is well taken. If I get a free book on Amazon (I don’t use other sources anymore), I ALWAYS leave a review after I read it as should everyone. That review gets posted on Amazon and Goodreads and here on my blog.

    If you do get an author’s book for free and you enjoyed it then by all means go and buy his or her other books. Authors have to eat and pay bills too, and writing for a living is hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The problem with your post is not its content but who it’s reaching. I suspect that many who read this post are writers themselves caught in this free book conundrum. I once offered my book Missi’s Dating Adventures for free and had over 300 downloads with zero reviews from this marketing strategy. Authors who give out their books for free are hoping to have a few reviews. Why do it otherwise? Sure, we want to be read but come on, we also want some recognition as well.
    Great post. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on deborahjay and commented:
    Someone has finally said it.
    I have not yet ventured into giving my books away for free, because I’m old-fashioned, and I expect to be paid for work I’ve done. I admit I’ve written a short story as a loss leader, which will be free as soon as this current 90 days in KDP select is finished and I can put it out on other outlets (free already if you sign up to my newsletter on the dedicated page on this site, hint, hint), but a full length novel?
    Not for me. I will grit my teeth and use 99c/99p promotions to raise my Amazon ranking, but writing a book takes blood, sweat and tears (and money) to get it out there, so I really don’t see why I should give it away for free.
    I’m stubborn that way, and I’ve been paid for my writing all my life (magazine features, non-fiction books, and now website copy), and it is part of my business structure.
    She’s tight, you may say, but I’m used to working for myself, and at the end of the day I still have to pay the mortgage – this is not a hobby.
    I know I’m guilty of filling my own kindle with free books, most of which I shall never read, but if I see a book I really fancy, I will still pay real money for it.
    It’s about time we started to reverse this trend, or pretty soon authors will be unable to earn a living wage.
    Go read the original, and share if you agree.

    Liked by 1 person

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