the e-pocalypse is the proliferation of free books. Plenty of smart authors -- self-published and otherwise -- are releasing free books into the wild as a promotional effort.
In theory, this is a great idea. Heck, in practice it's probably a great idea, but I've noticed something about the free books on my Kindle.
I forget about them.
Seriously. I mean not all the time, and not forever. But yeah, most of the time: I hear about a free book; if it sounds like my thing, I have it sent to my Kindle; and then I forget.
Why? Well, partially because downloading it from the laptop and remembering that it's on the Kindle are two separate events. When I'm on my Kindle, I forget about wherever I was surfing that morning.
Mostly, I forget because I didn't pay for it. I'm sure there's a psychological term for this, but I value something more if I pay for it -- even if I only paid a little. It means I made a semi-difficult decision (knowing me, it was a long decision, probably involving lists and a flowchart), so I put more value in that book. I'm more likely to make time for it.
And I'm less likely to put it down. I can't tell you how many Kindle samples I've downloaded, thought "this isn't bad," and then never thought about again.
Does that mean giving away free books is a bad thing? Well, no. There's strong evidence that they work, and I do get around to them eventually (and it's kinda nice too, like, "Oo! I forgot I had that!").
There's no question free books will get more downloads. But I wonder if you couldn't get more readers overall if the price point was just a leetle higher. Low enough to be a steal, but high enough to make the buyers value the download.
I dunno, what do you think? How do you treat free books?