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April 10, 2007


Tony Burton

Thank you, THANK YOU! You have said very well and persuasively what I have been trying to say to several for the last few months. Oh, SURE, as a reader, it's wonderful to get free books! But where is the money coming from to pay for these books? Out of the royalties that could have been paid, out of profits that could have persuaded the publisher to publish the next book by the author, out of publicity funds that could have been used to drive actual moneymaking sales.

I believe too many readers/fans and authors have no idea of the cost of doing business as a publisher, and they somehow believe that the books magically show up at the publisher's doorstep, bought and paid for. Else why would they ask for them to be given away for nothing?

By the way, I'm both an author AND a publisher, and I've given away my share of books--but very selectively and never in great quantity. As my mom used to warn my sister: "Honey, if he can get the milk for free, why would he buy the cow?"


Okay, so I don't keep the free pens I'm given, but that's because I don't like ballpoint pens. But I do have every calculator I've ever received and am grateful for them. However, I am most grateful for every free book I've received. Even though I spend ~$600/month on books, the free books I've received have introduced me to authors of whom I have not heard, probably would not have read and some of whom I buy on a regular basis. Free books are the loss leader of the publishing industry in order to provide exposure to new authors.

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