Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Free PDF Books = Good or Bad?

Over the last several weeks, I have noticed an growing trend in the publishing world: giving away free PDF files of books and short-stories. The first time I was made aware of this practice was when Random House emailed me a link to a PDF copy of Charles Bock's Beautiful Children. Later that day, I discovered that they were giving away the PDF on www.bn.com as well.

Today, through another blog that I visit regularly I found out that other publishers are doing this as well. I was able to download another 2 books and 2 short stories, and have a link being emailed to me to download yet another book.

I'm of 2 minds about this practice. On the one side, this is a great idea! There is practically no cost to the publisher (and none to the reader for that matter) to get these books promoted and into the readers hands. I have no idea what any of these books are about, but given that I've gotten them for free, I'm willing to give them a try. On the other side, I find myself discouraged at reading a book on my computer. It goes against the fundamental joy of the physical book. But really, if I didn't receive them as these free PDFs, I probably would never have given them a second glance, so I guess the program works. I'll let you know what I think of them as I get them read.

2 comments:

twocs said...
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twocs said...

There are various kinds of drug dealers, drug pushers among their number. "First one's free," he will say. It's through such blatant attempts that vulnerable persons become hooked to addictive substances.

Many times we have heard people say they don't like to read science fiction books on a backlit computer screen, preferring instead the warmth of a hard copy in their hands. However, the computer version is surely the way to go. The rain forests are being chopped down. Many acres of trees are sacrificed for a popular book. Free PDF sci-fi novels are providing a mechanism by which publishers might hook us to the literature of tomorrow.