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Free and Paid eBooks

When you start to look at eBooks, for example, the eBooks listed in our eBook Directory, eBookJungle.com, you will soon discover that some eBooks are offered for free, whereas others are paid eBooks that you need to purchase before reading.

Why are some eBooks free, and some eBooks for sale?

The first thing to understand is why this is possible: the cost of reproducing and distributing an eBook is virtually zero. After all, once an eBook has been created, it is just a bunch of data that can easily be copied or transferred across the Internet.

Virtually all the costs associated with publishing an eBook, are associated with three things:
  1. Creating the eBook in the first place: Mainly the costs associated with the labor involved in writing, creating artwork, editing, compiling the eBook, etc.

  2. Marketing and Promoting the eBook: The costs involved in advertising, creating websites, doing press releases, etc., to promote the eBook.

  3. Selling the eBook: In the case of a for-sale (paid) eBook, there is also a cost associated with processing the sales transaction. This is the fee charged by credit card processors, retailers, etc., as well as perhaps customer service costs. Obviously most (or all) of these costs do not apply in the case of free eBook.
So the result of this is that if the author/publisher is prepared to absorb the costs of initially creating the eBook, and promoting it (perhaps they don't even spend much on promoting it), then it is very affordable to give away free eBooks, whether they give away 10 copies, 10,000 copies, or even 10,000,000 copies.

Why would an author/publisher want to do this? There are many possible reasons:
  • The eBook might be a labor of love.

  • The eBook might be promoting a cause or an issue that the author/publisher cares deeply about.

  • The eBook might contain advertising for other products/services, or for affiliate programs, etc.
On the other hand, an author/publisher who publishes a for-sale eBook is usually hoping to at least break even from sales of their eBook.

So which is better?

Obviously the big advantage of a free eBook is that it is free. However, it would be unfair to say that free eBooks are generally worse than paid eBooks. There are both excellent and rubbish free eBooks, and likewise there are both excellent and rubbish paid eBooks - every eBook needs to be judged on its own merits.

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