Amazon Pricing Tactics

While the whole $9.99 Kindle book boycott has yet to be satisfactorily resolved, Amazon‘s begun a new marketing tactic on the opposite side of things. Free e-books.

Nothing new, some of you say. While I don’t deny that this new phenomenon could have been occuring for a little while without my noticing, here are a few things that I don’t mean.

I don’t mean a ten cent copy of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith which was one of my very first Kindle purchases.

I don’t mean the books (such as The Wealth of Nations) whose copyrights are long expired and were offered for free on Project Gutenberg long before Amazon caught on.

I mean relatively recently published, popular books being offered for free: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, for example. Go on, look. It’s actually free.

Frankly I’m not terribly fond of the Temeraire books. I read His Majesty’s Dragon at the library not long after  it came out and never bothered to read the others. Nothing wrong with the books, not by any means (except, perhaps, a weak protagonist), I just didn’t feel compelled to read further.

Amazon is hoping others will disagree. While His Majesty’s Dragon is offered for free, all the later books in the series are listed at full price ($6.39, fairly standard for a book that’s available in paperback). Every other free e-book of this type offered, at least so far as I can tell, is also the first in a series.

Needless to say, I just went on a free-book-binge. Here are a few books that I ‘bought.’

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove

Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt

For Love of Mother Not by Alan Dean Foster

Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter

Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham

Here are another couple that I didn’t ‘buy,’ for one reason or another.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (I’ve read it, and recommend it for anyone seeking quality high fantasy)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (didn’t strike me as something I might enjoy)

Let me know if you find any others and I’ll add them to the list (and my library!). While ‘speculative fiction’ is all I’ve seen so far, I would be excited to learn of more traditional offerings as well.

P.S. I support the $9.99 boycott for mostly selfish reasons, along with the fact that when I bought my Kindle, all the e-books were $9.99 or below, and I seem to remember a pledge to that affect from Amazon.

Update:

I’ve found several more- it turns out that many of these are part of a special promotion by Random House which will last through October

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