February 28th, 2008

PC keyboard

Giving it away

I blogged the other day that Tor was giving away free e-books (although I have yet to get a book or even any acknowledgement from signing up for the program). Now it seems Random House is getting into the act by giving away a debut novel that's gotten a lot of buzz. I subscribe to the Del Rey newsletter, so I got an e-mail notice that the book was available for free (I had forgotten Del Rey is part of Random House until then). Unlike Tor, Random House had things set up to go right away. I clicked the link, I checked the copyright acknowledgement box, and I was good to go. I now have on my PC hard drive a 400+ PDF of Beautiful Children, a mainstream novel set in Las Vegas (the author Charles Bock grew up there, even though he now lives in New York).

Whether I get around to reading the book is another question. Perhaps that's where the momentum is coming from in the free e-book movement. Publishers have realized the difficulty of their task is not so much to get people to buy books as to get people to read them.
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