There has been some discussion as of late about whether offering books for free helps authors to snag new readers. As an author, I have offered several of my books for free on Smashwords for a limited time. Many people downloaded the books. Have they bought my other books because they enjoyed the free ones? I don't know and I doubt it because sales of my other books did not go up.
I am not just a writer. I am a reader who just happens to have some special privileges. One of my special privileges is that I can get free books from other authors in the hope I will write reviews and post them on Amazon.
This is like handing crack to a cocaine addict. Am I always delighted to get free books and add them to my formidable to-be-read pile of books.
The little gif above shows some of the books I received at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference. Would I buy one of the author's other books because I got one for free? The answer is a qualified maybe. I have so many books to read and I am continually acquiring them, that the possibility of me buying another one of the author's books is remote--although, I have to say that if the book was in a series, there is a better chance I will buy another one in the series.
I always do my best to support other writers in my community. I have bought many, many books by other authors. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to reading all of them. Does this stop me from buying more books? NO!
I buy plenty of used books, too, at library book sales, yard sales, and flea markets. I buy ebooks on Kindle on a regular basis. Ebooks are inexpensive. Why wouldn't I buy them?
I still buy paper editions from Barnes & Noble, too. Friends and family know I am crazy about books so I often get gift cards to Barnes & Noble. (Yes, let the world know you have a serious reading habit and they will happily help you drown in books.)
As a reader, I love free books but I also spend money to buy the books I want.
As a writer, I really believe all authors should be paid for their work.
What do you think?