Free ebooks appear to boost sales

Tomas Martin @ 05-03-2008

Vernor Vinge made his book ‘Rainbow’s End’ free to read onlineTor author (and sometimes Futurismic blogger) Tobias Buckell has an interesting post talking about the effects of authors giving away their novels. There has been a lot of criticism of the practice by some writers and lots of praise from other corners. But with Neil Gaiman adding his superb bestseller ‘American Gods’ to the list of books you can legally download for free, are people shooting themselves in the foot or will this bring more income in the future through increased readership?

At the moment, it looks like the practice works. Two of John Scalzi’s books are up 20% and 33% in sales since the first one was released as a free ebook by Tor. As Charles Stross has mentioned, the fact that current ebooks are as much as a few hundred grams of chopped down tree, chemical treatment, ink printing, shiny cover embossing, a few thousand miles of transportation, part of the salaries of manufacturers, printers, truck drivers and shop assistants that make up the price of a typical physical book is simply insane. And that’s not even including the price of an ebook reader like the Kindle monstrosity. So until someone comes up with a £50 reader that gives you digital books for £3, £2 of which goes to the author, ebooks aren’t a business model. But they do provide clever authors with the chance to increase their reader base. What do you guys think? Would you purchase a book after you’ve been impressed by the free ebook version?

[image is the cover of Vernor Vinge’s novel ‘Rainbow’s End’, which you can find for free online here.]


Friday Free Fiction for 24th August

Paul Raven @ 24-08-2007

The times, they are a’changing, as Dylan once whined. Nowhere is that more true than in genre fiction publishing, it seems, with some interesting examples of new delivery systems among this week’s free reads:

At Manybooks.net, they’re rocking the old-school sf novels for free: Gordon Randall Garrett and Laurence Randall Janifer’s The Impossibles and Supermind, to be precise.

Free Speculative Fiction Online list a whole batch of newly available works; go and see, and give the gift of traffic.

Pete Tzinski (of Blood, Blade and Thruster magazine fame) is blogging an online fiction serial called God in the Machine. (As a side note, I reckon this will be one of the fiction formats of the future, so I’ll be watching closely to see how this does.)

The webzine Byzarium returns from the metaphorical wastelands of the intarwebs, complete with their archive of previous material. All new material will be for paid subscribers only – another interesting potential business model for short fiction online.

Classic free pulp-era science fiction: Edmond Hamilton’s “The Man Who Evolved”.

Don Sakers is inviting people to subscribe to his latest ongoing Scattered Worlds novel, Hunt for the Dymalon CygnetHunt for the Dymalon Cygnet. You can read everything that’s been published already for free, and then sign up to get the latest parts before anyone else.

Here’s Paul McAuley’s short story “Gene Wars”.

The first stages of Subterranean Magazine‘s Fall 2007 issue have started to appear – columns, audiobooks and fiction by the big guns of the genre, costing you nix.

Electric Velocipede’s John Klima has Ezra Pines’ story “Antevellum” available as a PDFread about this satire on Hal Duncan at the EV blog, then grab the file.

And a few bonus tidbits for the writers among the readers:

Nick Mamatas on the scene break, and why you shouldn’t overuse it.

Futurismic’s own Jeremiah Tolbert shares a nugget of wisdom on “the holy math of story”.

Enjoy!


Writers, editors and anyone else – if you want something you’ve written or published on the web for free mentioned here, drop me (Paul Raven) an email to the address listed for me on the Staff page, and I’ll include it in next week’s round-up.


Friday Free Fiction for 17th August

Paul Raven @ 17-08-2007

Orbit are sharing the first chapter of The Electric Church by Jeff Somers.

Project Gutenberg has uploaded Valley of Dreams by Stanley G. Weinbaum, and Brain Twister by Gordon Randall Garrett and Laurence Mark Janifer.

AntipodeanSF Issue #110 is now live – lots of free fiction to be had there.

Robert Reed’s Eight Episodes is up for grabs for free on Fictionwise.

Electric Velocipede (an excellent small-press print mag in its own right) has made the Jeffrey Ford story “The Way He Does It” available online.

Concatenation has David Brin’s short piece”Reality Check”, written for Nature Magazine’s “Futures” series, available as a PDF.

In a similar vein, Cosmos Magazine has “Time Travelling: A Quick Reference Guide” by Robert Friedman.

Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine is sharing the love with Scott Bradfield’s story, “Angry Duck”.

Alan DeNiro has released a lengthy sf narrative poem entitled “The Stations” under a Creative Commons licence … so you can not only read it, but remix it too, should you wish.

Last but not least, and not strictly fictional either, John “Bacon-Cat” Scalzi has interviewed Futurismic’s very own Tobias Buckell about his writing career, and the pervasive influence his Caribbean roots have had on his work.


Writers, editors and anyone else – if you want something you’ve written or published on the web for free mentioned here, drop me (Paul Raven) an email to the address listed for me on the Staff page, and I’ll include it in next week’s round-up.


Friday Free Fiction for 10th August

Paul Raven @ 10-08-2007

A slow week for free fiction, it appears … though I’m sure there was more that I didn’t hear about. Keep us posted, folks.

Strange Horizons has a new Tim Pratt story, “Artifice and Intelligence”.

Baen Books are making some of the stories from their delayed Libertarian anthology, Visions of Liberty, available for free; featured authors include the ubiquitous Robert Sawyer (“The Right’s Tough“), and Futurismic’s own Tobias Buckell in collaboration with Mike Resnick (“The Shackles of Freedom“).


Writers, editors and anyone else – if you want something you’ve written or published on the web for free mentioned here, drop me (Paul Raven) an email to the address listed for me on the Staff page, and I’ll include it in next week’s round-up.


Friday Free Fiction for 3rd August

Paul Raven @ 03-08-2007

Here’s your weekly serving of free genre fiction on the web:

Steve Libbey emailed to tell us about The Secret World Chronicle, a podcast novel series he’s been doing with Mercedes Lackey since last year; the whole of the first book is already available, plus some extras to tide us over until the next book starts being rolled out. Steve says, “the series is a sci-fi take on a world where heroic and villainous metahumans live alongside normal people. Needless to say, it is a blast to plot and write.” Sounds interesting. If you listen to it, why not email us a review here at Futurismic?

Nancy Jane Moore dropped us a line to let us know that she is among a batch of writers to have a story published in the latest issue of Farrago’s Wainscot, a free webzine featuring stories which are “quirky ones that might not quite fit other places,” in Nancy’s own words.

The first 63 pages of Joe Abercrombie’s novel The Blade Itself are available at Pyr’s website.

Project Gutenberg has added downloadable versions of an old Harl Vincent space opera, Creatures of Vibration, Project Mastodon by Clifford D Simak and Paul Ernst’s The Radiant Shell.

Via SF Signal: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Colours Of Space is available as a free ebook or audiobook.

Darker Matter #5 is live – and it’s apparently the last ever issue, too. Which sucks (though we understand the cause).

Clarkesworld #11 is also out and about.

Stephen Baxter’s classic short story “Raft” has appeared at InfinityPlus, and bestSF.net are hosting the full text of Chris Roberson’s “Companion To Owls”.

And the not-fiction-but-related-reads-of-note:

Locus Online has excerpts from an interview with short story craftsman Paolo Bacigalupi.


Writers, editors and anyone else – if you want something you’ve written or published on the web for free mentioned here, drop me (Paul Raven) an email to the address listed for me on the Staff page, and I’ll include it in next week’s round-up.

Also, I must acknowledge all the other blogs that I have cribbed and compiled this information from – cheers, folks! I’ll be adding you to the blogroll when I get a spare moment.


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