Choosing Free Ebooks

Today, I want to talk about free ebooks and what I realized recently about how I choose to add them to my Kindle. As an author, I'm usually more willing to give other authors latitude when it comes to their books. I'll overlook things that the average reader might scourge an author on.

Having said that, yesterday, after perusing the lists of free ebooks, I realized my practice of obtaining books had changed. You see, when I first got my Kindle more than 2 years ago and discovered the land of free ebooks, I went wild with stocking my cyber library.

If it was free, I wanted it -- regardless of genre or anything else. In fact, I didn't even read the blurb. I just grabbed them and was happy to fill my Kindle. 

That Was Then; This Is Now

As time has passed and the volume of free ebooks has swelled like a storm-surge tide, I've grown much more discriminating. Last year, I ruthlessly culled my Kindle library. I opened every book; read the first couple of pages; and deleted if the book didn't grab my attention.

Then I started reading the blurb before downloading free ebooks. As time has passed and my life has grown impossibly busy, I rarely have time to read blurbs now! I've begun just scrolling through the emails I receive from the many blogs that showcase free ebooks -- just looking at the book covers.

If I saw a book cover that interested me, then, and only then, would I take the time to follow the link to the Kindle page.

Free Books No Longer Attract Simply Because They're Free

Just about every author I know who offers a book for free has been bemoaning the fact that they no longer get downloads of the free books numbering in the tens of thousands. What kind of world is it when people turn down free books? The simple answer is that it's the kind of world we've created by offering so many free books I guess. Even giving away a book isn't enough to attract attention in this new world order, and it isn't a guarantee that anyone will take a free book.

Back to yesterday when I quickly scrolled through about 100 ebooks. Of all those ebooks, only 2 interested me enough -- based on their covers -- to go to their respective Amazon pages and grab them. Coincidentally, it turned out one book was by an author I've read before who is indie and print-published. The other book was from an indie-only author, but I've read him and like his thrillers. He gets better with every book.

Cover Art Is Crucial

So this admonition is for those who think any cover will do on a free or inexpensive or ebook (because they're not like REAL books). It won't. If your cover is uninteresting, ugly, or amateurish, no one will want your book even if it is free or inexpensive.

Takeaway Truth

When competition increases -- and it has in the last year -- you must make sure that all the elements that go into your book package are above reproach -- especially the cover.


  1. Very true, Joan. The ebook industry is becoming extremely competitive. If you're looking for more places to download free ebooks, has some great ones!

  2. Thanks, Jasmine, but I already subscribe to Freebooksy. I probably subscribe to them all. *g*