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Tor Free eBooks Giveaway Has Positive Effect on Sales

Simon at Bloggasm sent me an email about his interview with a few Tor authors who had participated in the Tor eBook giveaway. One author, Tobias Buckell, saw an increase in paper sales of his book that was given away and of its sequel, which was not given away. John Scalzi saw an increase of 20 percent of his book that was given away.

It’s not scientific proof, but more anecdotal evidence that ebook giveaways seem to work to increase paper book sales. At least, I can’t remember anyone saying that the ebook giveaway worked to reduce sales.

As I was contemplating this article last night, I thought about what books would be great vehicles for a free ebook giveaway. The one the struck me was the anthology entry by Kresley Cole which kicked off her Immortal After Dark series. The anthology is one of my favorite stories featuring Nikolai and Mysty the Vampire Layer as her sister Valkyries mockingly refer to her. It would give readers a taste of what the Immortal After Dark series feels like and could generate a spree of backlist spending.

Via Bloggasm.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Dayna
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 09:00:42

    since I bought my (shameless plug for the) Sony Reader, I’ve gone 90% digital. (I still can’t pass up the $2 hardcover bin at my local Chapters, though.) If TOR went digital on all their titles, I’d be in my own geeky version of heaven.

  2. Jody W.
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 09:48:42

    I suspect ebook giveaways work better for promotion when the publisher does them and when the publisher is not a small press whose books are primarily available AS ebooks, but I could be wrong. I love the Tor downloads, regardless!

  3. Karen Mahoney
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 15:24:11

    I’m not surprised to hear this – I think they’re a wonderful idea! I read Patti O’Shea’s IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR as a free Tor e-book, and liked it enough to buy her recent release when I saw it on the shelves.

    I think another good freebie, in the same vein (ahem) as Kresley Cole, would be the novella that launched Meljean Brook’s series.

  4. Miki
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 17:54:01

    I’m more with Dayna on this. So far, it hasn’t increased my buying at all…but that’s because I’m waiting to see if they release the remaining books (in the series I’m interesting in following) in ebook format.

    I really hate to think that giving away copies of free ebooks should increase print book sales. I want this experiment to make Tor expand more of its booklist – and backlog – into digital formats!

    (And, if this experiment has gone really well, for publishers to see that DRM-free ebooks didn’t increase the books’ likelihood of showing up on darknet.)

  5. Meanne
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 16:50:46

    I was one of those who took advantage of the 2 free ebook giveaways of Julia Spencer Fleming’s Books 1 and 2 of the Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne mysteries….I got hooked on them and looked frantically around for Books 3, 4 and 5 in ebook form. Frustratingly enough they weren’t available anywhere!!

    Inspite of this, I still went ahead and bought her latest book which is Book 6, and gladly shelled out the more than US$20 ebook price…I don’t think I would’ve been interested in the series if I had not been given the chance to read the 2 intial ebooks for free..

    So in my particular case, the ebook giveaways certainly paid off…

    And if anyone could point me the way to where I could find Books 3, 4 and 5 in ebook form, I would be so very grateful….

  6. Kindle lover
    Aug 02, 2008 @ 00:23:46

    You can get JSFleming’s book 3 & 5 on the kindle. WHY they haven’t e-published book 4 yet is mind boggling! (There are MANY series that are missing books in the middle, perhaps the publishers have backlogs of paperbacks they need to sell?)

  7. joXn
    Aug 03, 2008 @ 16:06:43

    I certainly bought books by Jane Lindskold and Daniel Abraham after having been hooked (and how — both kept me up til midnight) by the first book of their series via the Tor free e-book program.

    I’m actually pretty conservative in reading new series from authors I don’t know (and haven’t been recommended to me personally) because I usually don’t like characters enough to spend 1200 pages with them. The free e-book program is great for overcoming that.

  8. Jamie
    Aug 03, 2008 @ 20:47:21

    Doesn’t 100% surprise me, either. I got into Kelley Armstrong’s books because she writes and posts free novellas related to them on her website. I came to adore her Clayton character (and her writing talent), then HAD to pick up the book Bitten, which features him and his eventual paramour, Elena.

    But really doesn’t this work kind of like libraries, when you think of it? Thousands of books are available for free at my library. And once in a while when I’m unsure of a series or writer, I’ll check it out from the library first… and end up addicted, and wanting to buy it.

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