Is Writing Being Devalued by Giveaways and Cheap Ebooks?

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I LOVE to read. And while I don’t have as much reading time as I wish, I do read fast and manage to do my part. I still can’t get through my to-be-read pile. Because of one of my day jobs I am constantly being exposed to a lot of titles. Some I end up deleting after a chapter or even a paragraph because there are so many good stories out there, why waste time on stories that are not going to thrill me. But having this large amount of decent content means I never get to authors I love and would have to pay more for their titles. On the flip side, I am currently reading a series that I got the first story for free in one of those anthologies and the story was so good, I had to buy the whole series right there because I was going to die if I didn’t know what happened next! What are your thoughts?

Is Writing Being Devalued by Giveaways and Cheap Ebooks?

by Jane Friedman

Increasingly, at writing conferences and in the mainstream media, I observe growing unrest surrounding the proliferation of free and cheap literature, particularly ebooks. The reasons for sharp discounts and giveaways are legion (and some reasons are better than others), but regardless of the reason, I see greater peer pressure on and shaming of those who are seen to “devalue” literature in our culture.

Whole books have been written on this topic, as it’s an anxiety affecting creators in diverse fields. Some describe the phenomenon from a neutral and even historical perspective (“how have we ended up here?”), some are more activist in their approach (“fight and resist”), and still others are pragmatic (“here’s how to play with the hand you’ve been dealt”).

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