Is free the new .99?

I've stumbled upon dozens of websites that promise only one thing:  they alert readers about upcoming free books on Kindle.  Sites like Addicted to eBooks and others list all of the Kindle freebies through Facebook Pages, Twitter, email newsletters of course their own websites. Some of these genre specific (e.g., free romance books, free paranormal, etc.)  Others claim to exert some editorial function, in terms of quality

Competition for authors to get a listing in these "freebie"sites is fierce.  Some demand a certain number of 5-star reviews for authors to make the cut.  Others ask the author to explain why his or her ebook merits a special mention as a freebie. (How about "good writing?"  Probably not.)  Being free, apparently, is not so easy.  Authors have to prove that, at zero cost, they are worth considering.

The upshot of this is that readers can, without too much fuss, find free reads every day of the week.  Of course, they could also hop over to Amazon, and click on the various top 100 freebie lists as well. There are free books galore.

Many authors price books at .99, with the hopes of finding new readers. They want to build a platform and find their audience.  At a dollar, a book is close to free, but there's the rub.  It's not free.  It's competing with free.  In that context, free always wins.  It's not going to be too long before free is the new .99.

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