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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Value of Free

I've been reading a lot of free ebooks lately.

I do so for many reasons. I don't want to commit to a book I might hate. I read a lot. And a lot of the freebies tend to be short. (I have been known to stay up reading until 7 AM if a book sucks me in. This is especially not good on me the next day.)

I find a lot of good writers and good series via this method. Several of my favorite series I only started because book one was free. I've found some wonderful writers I would have been reluctant to try otherwise.

Some self-published authors do an excellent job. Others...not so much.

Which is another good thing about reading free ebooks. The bad books.

What good is reading a bad book? Well, for a writer, it's a valuable teaching tool.

When I read a good book, I tend to get pulled away into the fictional world of the novel. I read. I drift. I enjoy.

When I read a bad book, I think. What is wrong? What's bothering me about the story? How could it be improved? Am I guilty of similar bad writing?

Do you read free ebooks? Or do you shy away from them, fearing that they are all bad?


stu said...

I read them, and I try to make a point of reading something paid by the same author if I like them. As a writer, I'm slightly interested in the effects they (and ebooks in general) have on the writing climate, with perhaps a trend towards shorter books, longer series, and a need to get sequels out quickly to capitalise on the good feeling of the first one.

Sean McLachlan said...

I read a fair number of free books as I like having a risk-free way of trying out a new author. And yes, I tend to go for shorter works.
If this isn't out of line, I'd like to mention that my fantasy novella, The Quintessence of Absence, is now free.


If you read it, I'd love to hear your honest opinion.

Charity Bradford said...

This is exactly the same reason I read free books. To find new authors I can enjoy and learn from the bad ones.

mshatch said...

I don't have an ereader so don't read too many free books but through Storycartel (which asks that you write a review) I have read a couple, neither of which blew my socks off and one of which I was hoping would. Ah well.

Stephen Tremp said...

I've read a lot of free books. But they need to have a few dozen good reviews first. A handful won't do. And I've read some really good free books!

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

I tip-toe into them carefully. Too many are so badly written that not only does the storyline kill the buzz but the sentence structure as well.

On the other hand, I've found some great books at a reasonable price but stopped on that first book. I'll pay 5 - 8 bucks for a good one but when the publisher raises the next in the series to 10 - 12, I say forget it.

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

@ Sean
Going to Smashwords now! Yay!

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

My nook is full of free books! Some great. Some bad.

I don't generally end up finishing the really bad ones. I can learn from the good ones as well...and I have precious little time enough to read to be wasting my time reading bad books! :D

@ Sean...checking out Smashwords next!

Liz said...

If you don't have an ereader, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer apps that you can download to your computer so that you can get books from them.

But I wouldn't recommend doing that just for the free ebooks.