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Old 03-04-2013, 08:16 AM   #31
samhy
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I will have to look into that since my habits changed since January
I was wondering, how do you keep track of the price you paid or which one were free? Did you put a new column in Calibre or something like that? That would make things so much easier if it were possible to manage it with Calibre
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:11 AM   #32
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Some real numbers, just from my Amazon account:

Since I got my kindle, I've read 5 of 327 freebies (1.5%) and 30 of 168 paid books (17.9%).

Many of the free books I have read didn't come through Amazon (most notably the Baen stuff) so those numbers might be a little skewed, but aren't far out.

(What was even more noticeable to me, as I looked at my spreadsheet, was that I've only read 2 books out of 240 total downloads, paid and unpaid, since this time last year. I should stop acquiring things.)
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:04 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samhy View Post
I was wondering, how do you keep track of the price you paid or which one were free? Did you put a new column in Calibre or something like that? That would make things so much easier if it were possible to manage it with Calibre
I don't keep note of the prices I paid for books (I could find them in my Amazon orders if needed), but for free books, I just add a 'free' tag alongside the genres, then search for 'free' and all my free books are listed. Saves having to add an extra column.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samhy View Post
I will have to look into that since my habits changed since January
I was wondering, how do you keep track of the price you paid or which one were free? Did you put a new column in Calibre or something like that? That would make things so much easier if it were possible to manage it with Calibre
I created a column to track prices and a separate calibre library for freebies.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #35
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I'm relatively new to the ebook world, so I'm afraid I'm going thru that "hoarding" phase. My free/buy ratio is probably
500/40. It would take a fair amount of time to see how many I've read, partially because I've downloaded (both free and paid) a number of books that I'd read previously in paper. Suffice to say, I haven't read anywhere near what I've downloaded in the last year.
I suspect, however, that they may be picking the wrong question to evaluate.
If they're looking at "conversion" rates (a free book resulting in a paid book sale), that's pretty irrelevant from a publisher/author viewpoint. The practical question, in my point of view, is how many books would have been bought without the support of the free book.
I grew up using libraries, and still use them extensively. I just thought through this for a post in another thread-- we've got 1000+ paper books, and I've been reading that way for years, so it's easier for me to look at-- and in the long range, I imagine it will parallel my ebook habits. By far the lion's share are from authors with multiple books on my shelves (as are my paid ebook purchases). I would guess that I was introduced to every one of those authors through a book that cost me nothing (via the library or a personal loan), or occasionally a really cheap book at a used book store.
The "conversion rate" is still pretty low, since I read a lot of library books that didn't result in future sales, but the conversion rate is nearly 100% reliant on providing some method of reading "free". (And this is why I think the "ebook wars" between publishers and libraries is particularly short-sighted.)

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Old 03-04-2013, 06:12 PM   #36
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Oh I'm such a bad hoarder. I know I haven't read most of the freebies I've downloaded. That's part of the reason why I stopped downloading them. Plus, many of the freebies seem to be chick lit/romance. I read books in those genres but I don't want to read them all the time so I forget about a lot of the freebies on ereader.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:29 PM   #37
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100 to 1 sounds about right to me.

In my case tho, once I DO actually buy a book from an author. I'm VERY likely to buy more.

I downloaded for free a Tabletop Roleplaying game in PDF format which included 95% of the full content.
I liked it so much I bought a hardcopy on print on demand (and I got the full PDF for free).
It would have been VERY unlikely I would have bought anything from him if I didn't get a freebie first to check out the quality.
Since then I have bought a support PDF supplement and this week will order another of his works in hardcopy format (and I get a free PDF of the same as well).

So whilst 100 to 1 doesn't sound like much, if you offer a freebie like the first book for free or a partial free download, If someone actually DOES buy your material, they are very likely to buy more of your stuff.

Last edited by danskmacabre; 03-04-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:04 PM   #38
GeoffR
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For me one of the biggest advantages of an e-reader over paper books is being able to carry around a big pile of unread books, so that when I come to start a new book I always have a wide selection to choose from.

Since I have only had my e-reader a few months I have had to do a lot more downloading than reading to build up that pile of books, but it has started to level off and in the long run I expect to download only to maintain a pile of 1000 or so unread books.

So 100:1 download:read ratio might be right for the first few weeks of e-reader ownership, but as time goes on I think that will converge to 1:1.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:05 PM   #39
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Since getting my first ereader almost 1 in 5 of the books I've read have been free. Except for the first freebies read in the early days, they have been some of the best I've read, particularly those in the public domain from the MR library.

I'm just leaving behind the hoarder stage (I hope). 73% of my digital books have been free. Most of the books on my TBR list are from the 27% purchased. Apparently more than 1 in 4 books actually purchased is a better ratio than I had thought.

A few days ago I was in Hastings, our local bookstore, and was amazed at the number of print books for sale that I had received as a digital freebie.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:14 PM   #40
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I have downloaded 300ish free e-books from Amazon since 2011 ( I think) and I have read 60 or so of them. That said, I probably have another 30-50 free reads from Kobo and Smashwords that I haven't read. But I am slowly working my way through them, since most of them are buy authors that I actually want to read. Will I read all of them? Probably not, but I have discovered new authors that I intend to buy books from ( but I have also discovered authors that isn't for me).
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:10 PM   #41
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I'm pretty choosy about what I download even for free, but I wouldn't be surprised if free downloads vs. paid were about 20:1 for me, especially if I have very little spending money as I have recently. I do find I get more of the books I want when I borrow from the library than chasing random downloads.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:05 AM   #42
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My ratio is probably around 20 to 1 I guess.
That is if you don't count gutenberg books and stuff like that.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:07 AM   #43
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I don't know the ratio, but it takes me a while to get around to books I've downloaded for free, and I've stopped downloading free fiction. I download non-fiction on topics I'm interested in, but my paid books always take priority (and I have a big TBR virtual pile!).

If I had to guess, I'd say my ratio of free to paid downloads is probably around 10:1.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:54 PM   #44
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If I had to guess I'd say 100:1 sounded about right for me - I download a lot of freebie romances. But looking at actual numbers it's more like 25:1 (though I get most of my freebies from one site and do not do most of my spending there).

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Old 03-17-2013, 05:43 AM   #45
Asawi
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I've more or less stopped downloading freebies. I do however check out BN Free Fridays, and if it grabs my interest I download it. (Maybe 1 out of 5 Fridays)
When it actually comes to reading, it somehow seems like the freebies keep dropping to the bottom of the TBR list. Ratio? Guessing around 4-6 freebies/100 reads. Out of those 4-6 about half are PD books and half "give-aways".

Most of my reading is "free" (or rather paid for with tax/fees...) either way though, since most of my ebooks are library books.
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