Yesterday, some snarky jackhole on Twitter got preachy with authors, telling them not to discount their books to 99 cents (or give them away) because it devalued their work. In the comments, said jackhole went on to say, a) how much he hated authors who tell other authors what to do (and he totally missed the hilarious irony on that one), b) Would never put his precious book babies on sale because he'd rather sell nothing at full price than give his groundbreaking words away for anything less than full price.
Other authors chimed in to agree with the jackhole (no romance authors, I noticed), saying that free and discounted books were ruining the industry. So basically, these folks were saying that authors who give away their work or put their books on sale are basically stealing money out of their colleagues pockets.
I, of course, disagreed and was called a "troll" who didn't care about authors and just wanted to keep getting cheap books. (BIG eye roll) But along with the utter madness and stupidity and entitled snarkiness of the jackhole's posts and comments, he also mentioned that no one EVER reads a free book. His contention (which I assume he pulled directly out of his own ass after pushing his head out of the way) was that readers just hoard free books and NEVER EVER NEVER read them. Which brings me to the headline question and THIS:
Now, first of all, I feel I need to offer a disclaimer. I am in NO WAY saying that authors should always offer their books free or for 99 cents. Every author should set their own prices as they see fit. Heck, I've been known to pay huge prices and not even bat an eye for authors I know and trust. But for new-to-me authors, I've found that a free/discounted book is a no-risk introduction. It's a great way to discover new authors without spending an arm and a leg. (Because trust me, if I pay $12.99 for your debut romance and hate it, I will be bitter. But if I get it for 99 cents and decide it's not for me, no harm no foul.)
Additionally, I'm a book lover first, but I'm a marketer second. I see free/discounted books for exactly what they are: a marketing tool. I can't even tell you how many authors I've discovered through a book sale. And when I loved their freebie or 99 cent book, I immediately went back and bought everything they wrote--at full price. That is, of course, the author's intention.
But what I really want to know today is: