Friday, November 07, 2008

Book promotion in a down economy

Yesterday, my 20-something-year-old niece gemailed me to ask where she can find free ebooks online. My niece was looking for something to read, and she didn't want to pay for it.

Well, okay, that's good news and bad news. My niece is part of the growing group of consumers who are low on funds and who consider books to be a luxury item. That's the bad news. The good news is that my niece wanted to read a book! That's not something I take for granted. You'd think that she'd have picked up the gene to become a book junkie from one relative or another. Alas -- apparently, it doesn't work that way.

Anyway, I thought of the Gutenberg Project. I wanted to double-check the link (which, by the way, is right here), so I went to the Gutenberg Project site.

I hadn't visited the site in a long while, and perhaps you haven't visited the site in awhile as well. If that's the case, then I'm delighted to report that the site is growing and evolving. The Gutenberg Project's catalogue has grown, and it has added audio books to its offerings.

In short, the Gutenberg Project is promoting books, and reading promotion is book promotion. Sure, those of us in the publishing industry want people to buy books, now has become a way to promote reading. The price is right. So what's not to love about it? Book promotion is book promotion, and Gutenberg Project is promoting books by promoting reading, and that's good for us all.

Similarly, Publishers Weekly Daily just announced that Daily Lit has just begun sending free samples of selected books to subscribers via e-mail and RSS feed. If you're familiar with Shareware, then you already understand the concept. Books are free to try out (or sample). If you like what you see, you can buy an electronic version of the book. As the Daily Lit site says, you can "get what you want[,] when you want it." In fact, you can customize the frequency, time, and length of your book samples.

I'm about to sign up for Daily Lit myself, and I plan to go back and take a closer look at Gutenberg Project this weekend and see what looks good there. Free books? I'm there. Book promotion? Again, yes -- any sites that offer free books are promoting books and promoting reading, and my thanks to everyone who offers the gift of books to me -- to my niece -- and to all of us.