You might be thinking this is a trick question. I can assure you that is not the case though. Every single free book given out has a cost. Not only are there costs to all writers…there is a cost to readers. They may have been hidden and unseen, but I will reveal those costs to everyone today.
Before I get too far down that road, I must make clear a couple of terms I will use. There is a difference between “Wanna-be” authors and “genuine” authors. Readers need to know the difference in order to have any chance of changing things.
A wanna-be author writes one book because they always wanted to write a book. They never spent the time on formal, or even informal, training. No college, no practice, and not even a moment of self teaching. They just want to write a book, and believe that whatever crap that spills forth from their pen, is good enough. This is simply not the case and it will never be. I would not employ a hooker to fix my internet connection. Why would I hire just anyone to write a book? This is not reality.
The wanna-be author does not care if they cloud the waters. They have no intention of making a career out of writing. They only care that they get their book into as many hands as possible, no matter the cost to EVERYONE trying to expand our minds.
It is easy to spot them. They do not have any website filled with writings, they only have one book and are giving it away most of the time. They have not longed for this career all their life or put the effort into learning. That is why this is so. If you are a genuine writer/author you will have all the things that comes with that.
A genuine writer will have tons of material at their site from years of practice. They will have poetry, prose, short stories, chapters, etc. from those years. Most importantly, they WILL have more than just one book. Readers need to be able to tell the difference. They need to educate themselves on this or the price I have spoken of will come to pass.
Now that those have been clearly defined, let us move on to the price of FREE books.
When any author gives out a free book, they do it for reviews. However, what they don’t realize is that many readers already have hundreds, maybe even thousands of free books. That free book they are giving away will probably never be read. It will go on the back shelf with ALL the other free books. Why is this? It is simple, the readers grab up these free books for when hard times come, but just continue reading what they have already paid for. Which book are you going to read, the one you got for free or the one you paid for?
By accepting the free books and then throwing them up on the back shelf we are also throwing that authors dreams and hard work up on that shelf. The author gives away thousands of books to get a few reviews, no money, and gets discouraged. If this continues to happen to the genuine author, they have no recourse but to seek another means of making a living. Thus, the short term cost of giving out and accepting free books is legitimate, genuine authors are leaving the profession by the crane full. Those who have the most to offer our imaginations, are being set aside on the back shelf.
That is the short term cost of free books. However, every ripple lasts longer than we can ever dream of and these ripples will continue, if we do not stop giving away books! Think I lie, think I am crying wolf? We need only look at the Music industry to see how the long term repercussions will play out.
When the digital revolution came to music, everyone thought it was a great boon until everyone had to give away their music. Now you cannot even give it away, because everyone has to, in hopes that someone will listen for even a moment.
Even the major record labels are not looking for new talent. What would be the point when even stars cannot sell music? People don’t buy music anymore, they buy subs. Why bother owning when you can listen for free? The fact the artists get nothing for their work does not matter. It is human nature, to not pay money for anything, they can get for free.
This is exactly what is already beginning to happen in books. People would rather pay for a unlimited sub than own a book. They don’t care about the authors getting paid, because so many have already given away their work.
Ultimately, the genuine authors will leave this career path because there is no pay. We ALL have bills to pay. Authors do not live on some mystical island where there are no bills or taxes. We are actual people! Amazing huh!
The major publishers will soon face the same situation as the major record labels. They will be forced to stop accepting submissions.
The consequences of this will have far more ripples than music ever did though. Movies are made from books. Tv shows are made from books. Even video games have a story in them. What happens when the story tellers all leave?
I for one, hope this never happens, but one cannot deny a catastrophe when it stares you in the face.
The ripple from these free books will continue until ALL have paid a price or learned to change the way we treat genuine authors. I hope this article has been helpful to both authors and readers. I hope we all see this impeding threat and act as one, to stem the tide, before we all drown in the waves of our own ignorance. Thanks for reading!