Not Everything That’s Free is Equal

There’s a lot of talk in the self-publishing world of free being the way to build an audience and drive sales and many authors put their books up for free, even if it’s only for a limited time. (NB: I’m not going to discuss here whether I think free is the right way to go, that’s not the point of this post.) There’s also a lot of talk about piracy. In both cases a book is being offered for free, but does it make any difference where the reader gets their copy from?

You bet it does.

If a work is pirated, the only person who benefits directly is the reader. Some people argue that it gets an author’s name out there and that people who download a pirate version of one book might then go on to buy the next one, but there’s no real evidence of this being true.

However, if you purchase a book that is being offered for free from an authorised retailer then, even though the author does not receive payment, they do receive a benefit. That benefit consists of a bump up in the rankings (leading to possible future paid sales), a potential verified purchase review and the satisfaction of knowing that someone cared enough about their book to download it.

Both the reader and the author benefit.

There are thousands of books offered for free each day on authorised retailer websites and there is little chance of these websites downloading a virus to your computer – the same can’t be said of a pirate site.

So, if you really cannot afford to pay for books in the current economic climate, please download your free books from the big, authorised retailers and help support authors in the process.


A Little Bit Horror

A series of short horror story anthologies
for those who like their horror served with a touch of humour.


2 thoughts on “Not Everything That’s Free is Equal

  1. Don’t steal people’s work. Great article. You can also become a reviewer and visit the place where books have been free forever, the library. i’m a publicist and am always looking for new reviewers, so that another option and leaves zero reason for anyone to pirate a book.

    Edited to remove e-mail address.

    • Hi Kevin, thanks for your comment.

      The trouble is not many people go to libraries these days and yes, reviewing is another way to obtain books for free, if you’re so inclined. I’d rather just read.

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