The Herald Tribune has an article called The End User: E-books spur sales that talks about poor eBook sales and how some authors are giving away eBooks in hopes of making more book sales.
I know this seems counter-intuitive, but Charlie Stross’ quote says it all. The greatest enemy of a mid-list author is not piracy, it’s obscurity. By putting the book out there for free, it generates buzz. The thinking is that buzz = more sales. Cory Doctorow follows this method and, the article says, it has worked very well for him.
I wonder of those authors would be singing a different tune if they graduate from mid-list to the upper echelon? Does the same strategy hold true? How much would Harry Potter have made if it was released as a free eBook? (Forgetting for the moment the pirated version.)
Anywho, for some free sf/f eBooks, see:
- The Baen Free Library
- Cory Doctorow’s website (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town)
- Charlie Stross website (Accelerando)
- Peter Watts Website (Starfish (PDF) and Maelstrom (PDF) – see MobileRead for other formats)
- Mike Brotherton’s website (Star Dragon)