Free e-books offerings

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Aug 14, 2009
Free e-books offerings <!–10 min–>

A commuter uses a Kindle while riding the subway in New York. — PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK – JAMES Patterson’s latest best seller, ‘The Angel Experiment’ is a little different from his usual hits.

The novel isn’t new; it came out four years ago. Its sales aren’t happening at bookstores, but mostly on the Kindle site at Amazon.com.

And the price is low even for an old release: $0.00

‘I like the notion of introducing people to one book, while promoting the sales of another,’ says the prolific and mega-selling author (and co-author) of numerous thrillers.’

His Kindle download is the first book of Patterson’s ‘Maximum Ride’ young adult series. ‘We’ve given away thousands of free e-copies,’ Patterson said. ”Maximum Ride’ is big already and we think it could be a lot bigger. That requires getting people to read it.’

Patterson is among the biggest brands added to the growing list of free e-book offerings.

Over the past few months, top sellers on the Kindle – with downloads in the tens of thousands, authors and publishers say – have included such public domain titles as ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,’ and novels by Jennifer Stevenson and Greg Keyes.

In recent days, the top three Kindle sellers have been free books: Patterson’s, Joseph Finder’s ‘Paranoia’ and Keyes’ ‘The Briar King.’ ‘There’s always going to be someone who wants free things. What we’re trying to do is link free with paid,’ Maja Thomas, senior vice president of digital media at Patterson’s publisher, the Hachette Book Group, said.

‘It’s like priming the pump.’ ‘What we like to do is make the first book in a series free, usually a series that has multiple books,’ said Scott Shannon, publisher of the Del Rey/Spectra imprint at Random House, Inc, which published Keyes’ fantasy novel.

Mr Shannon said Del Rey has had especially good luck with Naomi Novik’s ‘Temeraire’ fantasy series after offering the first book for free. He said sales for the other Temeraire novels increased by more than 1,000 per cent. ‘It’s been stunning,’ he said. — AP

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