Last weekend, in an effort to promote my 1st novel, I decided to give-a-way it for one day. I even went so far as to create a online event at Facebook to make the announcement. I invited over 1000 people and about 25 agreed to attend. The day of the event I also created a give-a-way event at goodreads and sent about 200 invites of which about 10 attended. Furthermore, I made an announcement of the give-a-way at another social website to an additional 850 friends. I also posted an announcement here, at my personal blog, and tweeted to my 130 followers at Twitter, for good measure. Basically, I told everyone I could think of and that was over 2ooo people.
The result was that 189 people downloaded the free e-book during the one day give-a-way.
It would be stupid to say that was a good result because it was not. It was not enough downloads to get the book noticed by the general public at Amazon. Therefore, one could hope that perhaps some good reviews might help the book get noticed. However, that did not happen. What happened instead was totally unexpected but it gave a huge insight into the e-book marketplace.
One person read the book and reviewed it. Just one out of nearly 200 downloads. But why only one? Let me tell you what I discovered…
I contacted 2 others, who I knew for certain probably downloaded a free copy of the book, and was given the exact same answer. They had not gotten to it yet. But why not? Then I did some watching and observing of various websites, and began to see a trend that is currently taking place, and everything made sense.
During the event, one person told me flat out they downloaded the book but did not plan on reading it. Their reason was simple, they already had hundreds of Free books to read on their Kindle. This information combined, with what I was seeing on various book and social sites, and an image of what happened became clear.
You see Amazon in an attempt to sell more Kindles and raise Prime membership at the same time, came up with the KDP Select program. By having more books to offer their Prime members for free, they hoped to increase membership and at the same time have a better means with which to promote their Kindles. However, I am certain even they did not see where this would lead to. They did not realize, that in the end, they would be shooting themselves in the foot.
What has happened is that too many authors are now giving away their books. Everyday, I see more and more e-books being offered for free, and Kindle owners are now at a point where they simply have too many books to read, let alone take the time to review. The worse part about this whole thing, is the trend seems to be growing and that will only make the end results, worse. Anyone even slightly familiar with economics will tell you, that when you begin to have a glut in the marketplace, prices decrease. That is what will happen with the e-book marketplace. However,since the price of the books was free, the results will be a bit different. Instead of buyers insisting on e-books being lowered, they will begin to simply ignore them. Think about it, if you already have hundreds of free e-books to read, why would you even bother with another free one? The answer is obvious, in most cases, you won’t. This certainly explains my 189 downloads and only one review. The people already are beginning to have too many free books to read and this trend is only just beginning.
But there are even greater consequences than Free e-books not being downloaded or reviewed. Because the trend grows, it will begin to affect the selling of books altogether. Readers will begin to realize that they need not pay for books anymore. When this realization has hit the majority of readers, nobody, except for perhaps big-name, well established authors, will be able to sell their e-books. Many authors will leave the business because there is not point in trying to sell something that can no longer be sold. As the book sales decrease so will Amazon’s profits off of them. They threw the independent author under the bus, and eventually, they will pay a price for it. In the meantime, countless authors will decide to find other paths to go, and the bottom of the e-book market will fall out. With the trend only gaining momentum right now, it will mean years, if not a decade, before readers will be willing to buy e-books from independent authors.
For the readers though this is a good time. They get to enjoy literally thousands of free e-books from authors who may never publish again. Readers will get enough free e-books during this time to read for years, many years.
By now, you might wondering what is the point of all this speculation and writing. The point of all this was so that you, the reader, might understand when I tell you how this will affect me and my books.
I will never give-a-way another book in the future. I won’t be a part of the destruction of the independent author. For the small part I did play, I am sorry and deeply embarrassed. I will continue to write. I have never written for profit. That is apparent in the facts that I have made none and that I almost never advertise. Because profit is not important to me, I will continue to write and share those writings/novels. I will continue to only advertise when a book is released or a new writing is posted. I will continue in hopes, that the stories I provide, will help others in this long journey we all are on, called “life”. Thank you for reading and have a great day!