February 17, 2010

In Book News, The Times Says Way to Make Book Bestseller on Kindle is To Give Away

By admin in LRR

The title, from a New York Times article this week, is left categorically vague. GIVE BOOKS AWAY?!?! approximates my initial reaction, eyes somewhat widened, my long-live-print-media heart string somewhat tugged. I read on, and found I was misled. More appropriately:

Christian Thillers Now Free-Ninety-Nine on Kindle: Available for Your Christian Thrills, Immediately, Digitally.

Or, Can You Keep (It) Up? Samhain Publishing To Release Free Erotica E-book Biweekly, Immediately, Digitally.

Also, in this context, ‘bestseller,’ in all of its paradoxical glory, could stand a modification, too. These books topping the Kindle charts, such as (sic) Wolf Signs: Granite Lake Wolves, Book 1, complete with spine-chilling blue-tinted cover and a typeface reminiscent of Goosebumps, are not best sold. They are best given away. Think the guy, typically bearded, standing on the corner giving out those annoyingly small green bibles, only this time, he’s letting you download Christian Thrillers about lake wolves.

Still, the Kindle giveaways are worrying many. And not just parents of teenage boys, for their twice-monthly free erotica, but publishing companies and writers alike. They’re concerned, that free downloads will gradually decrease the average reader’s willingness to splurge on the price of a hardcover. There’s legitimacy to that: Kindle has set a more or less sub-ten-dollar benchmark for most of its titles, which rests, on average, three dollars below the price of a paperback, and about thirteen less than a hardcover. In the anti-e-book nightmare, books will go the way mp3s have gone, they will eventually become both outdated and overpriced, the cds of our bookshelves.

As technology tends to go, free downloads will probably become commonplace, and they’ll probably have some new device, replacing the Kindle, that does everything short of your own mounting laundry. But for this week, let’s just focus on the fact that those who want a “free bestseller,” or an erotic give away, have to spend many too many chapters reading romances with taglines like “a masked man with a burning secret is her only hope.”  There is something excellent about that. I’m wary of the e-book phenomenon just as much as the next person, but for now, let them download their free bestsellers.

Icy Heat: A Heat Series Story,” in case anyone might be so inclined to look this up. It involves protagonists Marsley, and Aidan, who is a “big name singer” in a band called “Galaxy Grid 219,” and the abstract comes with a gracious warning: “This book contains out-of-this-world sexual content!”


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