If you tend to be a big reader, chances are you are constantly being fed sponsored ads in your social media feeds for BookBub and FreeBooksy. While these sites promise lots of free books, there are a few things you need to know as a reader.
First, the “free books” is a bit misleading. First, a lot of people misunderstand their ads and think you are getting free paperbacks. That’s not accurate at all. What you are actually getting is a listing of ebooks that can range in price from free to regular price.
The price of the book it is advertised for is also only good for the day of that newsletter run. So don’t be surprised if you find a supposedly “free” book being advertised in the newsletter only to click on it a day or two later to discover it is now regular price.
Second, there is no “vetting” process. Authors have to pay to have their books featured in these newsletters, and the price tag is hefty with a book that is selling at $3 or more costing the author a whopping $3983 for a single newsletter run.
These sites aren’t vetting books for anything other than to see if they currently have a high rank on Amazon, and how many reviews they have. As previously discussed, a high-ranking on Amazon does not necessarily mean the book is any good. A disproportionate number of the high-ranking books are scammy, half-assed word vomit pushed out by book-mill “authors” looking to cash in and are paying click farms to “buy” or “borrow” their book in KU, thus artificially inflating their rankings. Also as previously mentioned, a lot of these books with an over-the-top number of 5* reviews are facilitated through fake accounts.
For this reason, those authors with the largest marketing budgets are the ones who get to apply for these spots. This means you are not always guaranteed a quality book. Add in the fact that a lot of authors purposely mis-categorize their books, and there is even less guarantee of what you will end up with in your newsletter.
So what is a good alternative? First, follow your favorite authors on Amazon to ensure you get updates on their new releases. Better yet, FOLLOW them on Bookbub rather than signing up for the BookBub newsletters. Whenever an author has a new release, you will get a short email from those authors you follow alerting you to a new release. Now, you need to understand that following an author on BookBub will only alert you to a NEW RELEASE from the author. Unfortunately, BookBub does not offer any way for authors to alert their followers of sales, etc. without actually paying BookBub for a newsletter spot.
A second good alternative is to follow the authors on social media. However, given the state of social media these days, the best way to find out what is going on is to sign up for your favorite authors’ newsletters. This ensures you stay up-to-date on all your favorite authors, their books, their sales, and what they are working on. You may even find yourself able to snag a coveted autographed paperback for less than the cost of a burger meal!