Welcome to Dear Jane, a weekly column based upon reader mailbag questions on anything relating to e-books. No question is too simple or too mundane. We are all learning together. Send your questions Jane@DearAuthor.com with "Dear Jane" in the subject matter.
Dear Jane: I'm see all these promotions for free e-books (or cheap ebooks) but I don't own an e-book reader and I don't want to buy one just yet (I'm waiting for that perfect device). But I still want to read some of these books for free. Is there anyway I can do that?
Dear Lynn: Yes, for almost all free ebooks or cheap e-book promotions, you can take advantage of these deals by using just your laptop or desktop. The truth is nearly half of people who read e-books do so using some type of personal computer. The only disadvantage is that you might have to download more than one software program to your desktop to take advantage of these promotions.
There are three major retailers that support the publisher promotions of free and cheap. Those are Kindle (PC and Mac), Nook (PC or Mac), and Sony (PC and Mac). The nook and Sony both sell epubs which you can read with Adobe Digital Editions, however, you will still need to use the retailers' software in order to download the free books. The nook does have some in store specials that require you to go into the store and show them a BN ereader on your computer, handheld device, or your nook in order to get the special. Most ebook promotions are available to anyone who has a computer.
Long Answer: How do I keep track? Dear Author posts the monthly specials that they know of but there are three good sources for the publisher promotions: MobileReads "Deals, Freebies, and Resources" forum; Books on the Knob blog; Kindle Besteller list (broken into free and paid). Random House and Samhain, offer monthly FREE ebooks. For example, this month you can download the following for free:
- His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey, a division of Random House. This is the first in the Temeraire series.
- No Place for a Lady (Heart of the West Series, Book 1) by Maggie Brendan, published by Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
- Undercover Lover: Take Me, Lover, Book 2 by Charlaine Teglia, published by Samhain
- Colters' Wife by Maya Banks, published by Samhain
This month, Tor has released shorts of its award winning authors:
- Overtime by Charlie Stross
- Eros, Philia, Agape: A Tor.Com Original by Rachel Swirsky
- First Flight: A Tor.Com Originalby Mary Robinette Kowal
- A Memory of Wind: A Tor.Com Original by Rachel Swirsky
Kensington often has short, unannounced freebies. Harlequin has its free books from last year's 60 year celebration and has added three new free titles. It is also offering freebies directly from its ecommerce site such as Speed Dating by Nancy Warren. Hachette and Random House offers discounted promotional e-books. Hachette has been promoting the backlist of Elizabeth Peters. The following Elizabeth Peters books are all $1.99:
Other $1.99 deals are:
- A Highlander Never Surrenders by Paula Quinn, published by Forever.
- Between the Sheets by Robin Wells, published by Forever.
- Seduce Me by Robyn DeHart, published by Forever.
- Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory, published by Forever.
- The Surgeon: with Bonus Content by Tess Gerritsen, published by Random House.
Pocket, HarperCollins and Penguin rarely, if ever, feature free backlist giveaways. I haven't seen giveaways for Ellora's Cave, Loose Id, Red Sage or Liquid Silver, to name a few e-book companies.
For more discussion about the Sony, please see RT's Reader Forum: E-book Questions Answered Here.
Have an e-book question? Send it to Jane@DearAuthor.com and your question may be featured in her next column.