Why do authors give away free books?

Posted by The Obooko Team

As you know, downloading free books online from Obooko is easy; within a few seconds you can have a fantastic novel or textbook sitting on your computer, tablet or phone, ready to be opened and read. What's even more appealing is the fact that all ebooks on this website are absolutely free of charge - you don't have to part with a single penny of your hard-earned cash. This is of course 100% legal and above board: you will never be in possession of pirate copies, only genuine Copyright-licensed editions gifted to you by our wonderful authors.

Group of authors

It goes without saying that we appreciate the immense generosity of all authors making their work available free of charge on Obooko. Writing is no easy task and can take a great deal of time, energy, skill, dedication and self-sacrifice to get to the final draft of a book. Our part is easy: we simply sit back, open a book and enjoy the results of all that effort!

It's generally perceived that to achieve success most authors write to get their work published traditionally and make money. This however is not always the case: many successful writers are driven by the need to have their work read and to be appreciated for all the research, technical quality and creativity that goes into the writing of their books. And making money is not as easy as you may think.

So, what motivates authors to gift all or some of their work to you via Obooko? What inspires them to share free books to read with people all around the world without any financial gain? And in what ways do they benefit?

To save you guessing, here are is a selection of views from popular authors distributing their work on Obooko:

Author R. A. Lee

R. A. currently has 2 Romance books and a general fiction novel available for free download.

Book cover for Love Again, Love For Them, by R. A. Lee.First off, thank you to the thousands of Obooko readers who have downloaded my books and those who have sent me an email in response – every download and every word you write back lets me know I made a good decision to put my books on here for free.

I first found out about the Obooko website when I self-published my first book “Love Again, Love for Them.”

As an avid reader, I had always wanted to write a novel. I spent many, many weekends as a kid in the back of dusty thrift shops reading all the paperback novels before choosing a few for a quarter apiece, sometimes two for a quarter if there was a sale (yes, thrift shops have sales).

I didn’t know it at the time, but the paperbacks in the thrift shop represented the best-sellers of the day, which I won’t name as they will age me ;) That’s where some best-sellers end up after being enjoyed by fans, in the thrift shop for others to enjoy.

Was the writer getting any money from me picking up a book in a thrift store? No - and YES!

If I was hooked, I would take whatever money I made from some odd job and go to the bookstore to get one of their other books – full price. If I was really hooked, I would eventually get all of their books.

That writer got a new reader, a fan (which, and this dates me) meant sending a letter if I wanted to say I loved the book. A letter I never wrote because I had no way of knowing about a fan club. The Internet was barely invented.

When I wrote my first book, like many other writers I had dreams my book, out of all of the millions out there (I didn’t know how many at the time, but there were too many), would be fought over by agents and publishers and I would be the next (insert famous author name here).

I didn’t even bother sending it out. I had sent out other queries for other book ideas and just the slightest rejection made me reconsider any thought of being a writer.

Then one year, a year after many personal losses and realizations of dreams never to be, I saw the Nanowrite November writing challenge (nanowrimo.org, I have no affiliation with this organization other than taking their writing challenge years ago) and started writing.

I produced two novels that year, so maybe “Beauty at the Bus Stop” was the first written, but “Love Again, Love for Them” was the first I uploaded. Then, I waited.

I cannot tell you the sensation I felt as I read the first review. It was so good I thought it was a mistake. At that moment I realized pure joy and I was hooked. I wanted more of that rush, of knowing that someone, besides my mom, really appreciated my writing.

In those early days of self-publishing, I read many, many blogs and they said the path to success was this or that, but none of them worked. Social media was the key, but I wasn’t the type to get into social media. How many writers are? I am an introvert who loves making up stories based on people watching, not getting people to watch me.

The other option was more my style. Give free copies away and maybe generate interest in other books in your catalog. That sounded like my path. I thought about all of those hundreds of paperback books I had bought at the thrift shop for a quarter, but ended up buying others at full price in a bookstore because I wanted more by that author.

Obooko.com was on a list of places to upload a free book, so I did. I haven’t seen any increase in sales from this tactic, but from the tens of thousands of downloads I have received something equivalent (sure, quitting my day job would be nice but it’s not why I write).

Obooko readers are absolutely kind and wonderful. I get so many soul-uplifting emails from readers all the time and I treasure each and every one.

I bought a sweatshirt and some other stuff with the couple hundred dollars I have made in the (almost) decade I have been writing and self-publishing. A few bags full of thrift shop store quarters, but every sale is like a million bucks to me.

But that’s not why I write, or post books on Obooko.com for free (I have two others up - the first part of a trilogy titled “Desert Town Angels: Part One,” and “The Fountain of Truth,” another novel similar in length and storytelling to “Love Again, Love for Them.”).

I do it because I love to write, which I would do no matter what - and for the feedback. Those authors who never made a dime (or a quarter) off that first purchase made those days in the back of a dusty thrift shop for some poor teenager very magical. I only hope I have given someone else a little magic in their life as well.

Keep reading and please keep sending those emails – it won’t put me on any best-seller list, but it will fill me with joy, the joy I hope my novels may give to all the Obooko.com readers possibly sitting in the back of a dusty thrift shop reading them on an iPad.

Author Ken Donald  

Ken's 6 Action and Adventure books and 3 Thrillers are downloaded from Obooko every day.

Book cover for Our Reluctant Man in Berlin. My finger hovered over the upload button for a whole minute!

Spoken words fly away, written words remain. I used this quote in the opening paragraph of the first action & adventure book I published on Obooko. I’d written the novel three years earlier and it was loitering on my laptop - not gathering dust, exactly, but certainly not being read. Which left me with a question. What was the point of writing it in the first place? I enjoyed writing it, but would anyone enjoy reading it? That was when I did a little research and discovered Obooko.


So, when Obooko presented me with the opportunity to publish my work, why did my finger hesitate to click on the upload button? I’ll admit I was nervous. What if readers didn’t like my books? But the alternative was just to leave them sitting idle on my computer. So, I took the plunge and clicked on ‘upload files’, and I’m glad I did.

As a writer, you might need to develop a thick skin when your book isn’t exactly someone’s cup of tea, but I’ve found the booklovers at Obooko to be very kind and supportive. When a reader gives feedback, saying how much they enjoyed your novel, it’s genuinely appreciated and makes all the hard work worthwhile.

And if I’m lucky enough to receive a five-star rating, I find myself uttering a ‘thank-you’, in the hope that my words might travel the airwaves and reach the kind souls responsible. They have taken the time to read my book and let me know they enjoyed it. How nice is that!

I use the Obooko site myself and I’ve downloaded some great reads. They’re absolutely free, so what have you got to lose? Or, if you have an idea for a book of your own, why not get typing? But don’t let your novel languish on your computer, hidden from the world.

Click on the upload button.

Author Letitia Coyne

Letitia continues to share her 4 Historical Romance books and a Historical fiction novel with readers around the world.

Book cover for BRITANNIA, by Letitia Coyne.In 2006, I tried writing historical novels I hoped would sell as romances. They didn’t – at least, not to the big Romance publishers who buy stories written to a proven formula. I didn’t want to shred those stories, I’d grown quite fond of the characters, so I decided to make the manuscripts free online, thinking maybe a few people would see them and enjoy them. I expected no more.

That’s when I found the online ebook libraries! These wonder-sites, Obooko being the best, of course, existed only to bring readers and authors together. Just what I needed.

At that time, I offered to help a friend with her little web fiction magazine, ergoFiction. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. We were right there when the e-fiction tsunami hit. Suddenly there were no rules and no gatekeepers and everyone who could hold a keyboard could write and self-publish a novel. That little magazine exploded across web fiction overnight, and from there I went to work for my publisher, 1889 Labs writing serialized fiction in 2011.

So that’s my story of then, but now it is easier to publish to Kindle and make $million$, isn’t it?  No – honestly, it still doesn’t work that way.

New writers soon realize that they cannot do enough marketing to raise their name up above the thousands of other beginners. You can’t sell millions of 99c ebooks if no one has ever heard of you.

The single biggest thing that carried my little rejected books from the bottom drawer to hundreds of thousands of downloads and gave me a whole new career arc, was making them free and giving them to quality directories. The readers came to me.

If you ‘write a book’ – sell it. Make what you can out of it. Frame it.

If you are a ‘writer’, if you ‘write books’ as a career and can keep up with the demand of your audience as you build it, then there is no better way to be noticed than to give away some of your work and let people see what you do. Let the readers come to you.

Author Peter C. Byrnes

Peter is our most prolific author having written 64 free books (yes, sixty four!) in his Homicide Detective series, plus 2 travel story books and a book of poetry … what an achievement!

Book cover for Vengeance is Sweet, by Peter C Byrnes.Why have I been writing stories and sharing them with you exclusively on the Obooko platform?

From 1996-2001 I ventured solo around Australia at a snail's pace, writing anecdotal stories of my travels that occasionally blew out to works of fiction and part-fiction. I had religiously kept a Travel Journal and during a period of recuperation in 2008 due to busted ribs, I transcribed that Journal with embedded photographs into my computer. This led to the stories expanding to almost 80 in the Series!

It was then that I realised my attempts had been warmly received with the group of friends and family demanding more and more.

I joined a Writing Group to be with like-minded people, mixing with folks who spoke as though every one knew Latin! I was asked to leave when my stories became too irreverent and/or black for the 'members' tastes … creative writing indeed.

I guess I began writing seriously around 2011-13 as I began to have limitations in what I could do (I had broken my back when I was 17 and it came back to haunt me.) I did not want to be an ageing man sitting in his favourite armchair watching TV during the day so the stories began. It not only filled in the days (and nights) after I retired but in thinking as I wrote, the pain became less noticeable. This was to suffice up until the present....

While I may have had thoughts of my attempts being better than they are, I never thought they were good enough to have them published through the normal channels. Additionally, the pressure to constantly produce a new story to satisfy the demands of a Publisher and the needs of those who found my stories good enough to purchase, would become too much of a burden with each new story only adding to the weight. So, I decided to give my books way free of charge.

I still get a kick knowing there are people out there who really do enjoy my Novellas, though Number Sixty-one in the series maybe the last.  Watch this space!

Author Amaris Ricci  

Amaris shares her 22 Romance books, 4 Thrillers and 2 short stories with you free of charge.

Book cover for Flawed Fate, by Amaris Ricci.I think Therefore I Write.

Writing makes me happy, I get to express my impossible thoughts without fear of ridicule.  My words come from me, they speak to how I may be feeling at any particular moment.  Obooko allows me to express my creativity for free.  Yes, there are rules but nothing that would dissuade someone now starting out as I did a few years ago.

Obooko allows readers to see the world through the writer’s eyes and through the feedback option, we can see how our work affects others.  

These are the kind of comments that keep my fingers moving:

- Broken Toy. “Hey.. I read two of your books.. I loved your stories.. I saw 1 thing common in both that when heroes express they love.. Heroin ask one word question i.e "why" I think its true that every women want answer to this question.. and that question only grabbed my heart in your story.. So All the best.. And thank you for writing such beautiful stories.. :)”

- Cougar Party. “please I'm dying to complete the other series. Awesome twist by the way. I've virtually read all your books. can't wait for their various sequence. You are awesome. Thanks again for your wonderful writing.”

- On The Outside.  “I felt that this book is about a fairytale life which unfortunately doesn't happen in real life. I wish if u could write about things which an ordinary person can relate to, not stories that we see in movies about being rescued by Prince charming.”

I would like to thank the Management and Staff at Obooko, you rock!


To conclude, it’s heartening to hear that not every author writes purely for profit and that we have so many generous writers sharing their wonderful work with us here on Obooko. Don’t forget to leave positive star-ratings and send as much feedback as you can in appreciation. Happy reading!

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