Thursday, July 10, 2008

Did Tor’s free ebooks affect sales?

Simon Owens asks a very interesting question. As background, you know that I have been listing the free books that Tor has been releasing in preparation for the unveiling of their new site that will have news, reviews, books and a host of other material. Well it seems Owens stepped behind the curtain and speak to the wizard as it concerns just what kind of impact Tor's efforts had. Simon spoke to Tobias Buckell and John Scalzi among others to get their reaction to Tor giving away their books. The results were telling, since we have so many very vocal nay sayers in the industry that would say that giving away material is pandering to those that would steal it and the only ones that benifit is the freeloaders and the authors get the dirty end of the stick. Well, pleasantly enough both Buckell and Scalzi report that while Tor was featuring one of their books, sales of these same titles experienced a sharp increase. Other authors did not see any significant results, but in my mind I wonder if that says something about how the work was promoted initially or maybe it reflects on the prevailing tastes. For me, I think the creative commons and free releases are a brilliant stratergy. Vertually any other product has a way to "test drive" it. From food court pass outs to automobile test drives, its a way for the customer to see if they like the product, and of course get a feel for "owning" the product. But they want you to buy a book with virtually no idea of what is inside?! Almost self defeating in today's market.

But I am degressing some. Click on the article's title to go to Simon's post on the background and reaction to Tor's program. Its very interesting.

Pic Simon Owens from Blogasm

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