Amazon has done it again. A recent change in the agreement between Amazon and its affiliates seems to have put the kibosh on the value to authors of making their books free. Specifically, the sites that authors depend on to promote their freebies will lose huge amounts of affiliate income, with the near-certainty that many of them will cease to exist.
This is possibly a very good thing. Will it mean the end of authors boasting of “sales” in the hundreds and thousands when there have been no sales at all? Since when has a giveaway counted as a sale? Ditto with boasts of being in the top 100. Is being in the top 100 lists of freebies really something to be proud of?
Maybe it will also be the end of newly published authors who’ve been suckered into the “free is good” idiocy and then find out that it rarely leads to the expected sales. Perhaps also the end of nasty reviews by people who read nothing but freebies and feel entitled to trash them, often for the most petty of reasons.
And maybe it will be the beginning of a trend in better writing when the jump-on-the-bandwagon writers realize that thousands will read junk if it’s free, but won’t pay for it.
Free books won’t go away, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with having a promotion now and then. But hawking a book from review site to review site and then patting yourself on the back for having given away hundreds or thousands of copies? Let’s hope Amazon’s new rules give those writers a well-deserved slap upside the head. Along with the bloggers who make money from the gullibility of hopefuls.