web analytics

Free Books put the fear into booksellers

World Book Night, 5 March, is freaking out booksellers. One million free books on the market are gonna kill independent book selling.

(Obviously they’ve never heard about Bookcrossing. Shhh!)

Which goes against a lot of the authorial commentary on Creative Commons & the value of the ‘first one free’ approach. And hasn’t Cory Doctorow discovered that his sales went up after ‘giving away’ his books? I remember trying to read SOMEONE COMES TO TOWN, SOMEONE LEAVES TOWN electronically (back in the day, we had to read html directly from our desktop computers! That’s right, kiddies, and we couldn’t scroll without clicking!) & giving up, buying the damn book instead. That might have been exacerbated by the fact it’s such a weird book & even years later I can’t work out if I really liked it or hated it entirely. And, perhaps ironically, I occasionally buy other Doctorow books just to *work out* whether I actually liked that first one. But then I panic whenever I start to read one. Some kinda vicious circle.

It’s a complicated psychology, the ‘free book reaction’. I wonder if World Book Night will just end up bumping the psychosis rates across the UK & Ireland. Might be safer to watch TV that night instead.