Friday, April 15, 2011

Teen Book Drop and the E-volution of Free Books

If you're looking for free books, today is your lucky day. I've got plenty to choose from! And that's much nicer than worrying about those nasty taxes, isn't it?

It's no secret that e-books have been growing at a steady rate. As book chains fail and publishers tighten their belts, readers keep flocking to digital editions, often lured by lower priced stories and "free for a limited time" offers from bestselling authors like these:
Wings by Aprilynne Pike (free through April 18)
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (free through April 25)

But I had no idea just how fast sales have been growing. Most articles I read said that e-book sales were still only 5% or less of total sales for publishers. That's changed. Dramatically. Yesterday in Publisher's Weekly they announced that e-book sales for the first two months of this year are equal to trade paperback sales for the same period. That's right. EQUAL to trade paperback sales for 19 reporting publishers. Just for the month of February, e-book sales jumped 200%. That's huge!

But if we go completely digital, what will happen to events like Teen Lit Day?

Yesterday readergirlz promoted Rock the Drop! and we did our part by leaving three YA novels in popular hangouts on State Street in Santa Barbara. We left Paranormalcy by Kiersten White at Starbucks on the corner of Cota, As You Wish by Jackson Pearce at Yogurtland and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green at Natural Cafe. My daughter couldn't stop watching the people walking by the books we left, hoping someone would pick them up and take them home. She got so excited every time someone would look at them. Unfortunately, no one took them while we were watching. But it got her thinking.

"Why do we only do this once a year?" she asked.

I didn't have a good answer. As soon as we got home, she started pulling out more books that we could leave for people to find. I have a feeling we'll be dropping plenty more books in the weeks to come! And this time we'll leave notes on the covers so that people know right away that the books are meant to be taken.

If you're not in the Santa Barbara area and you don't have an e-reader, never fear! I'm still going to Rock the Drop right here on my blog. I love to see people smile when they get a free book, even if it's just a virtual grin :)

So what's up for grabs? Melina Marchetta's Printz winning novel Jellicoe Road, Cameron Stracher's dystopian debut The Water Wars and David MacInnis Gill's riotous deal with the devil, Soul Enchilada. And how can you win one of these prizes? Leave a comment letting me know which book you'd like me to send your way. If you don't pick one, you won't be entered in the drawing. (And that's okay! I still like to hear from you!) Random winners will be announced on Monday, April 25.

My kids are on spring break next week so I'll be on a blogging break. Have a fabulous week and I'll be back with a Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and three lucky winners on April 25.


Laura Pauling said...

I got both Wings and 13 envelopes but I haven't read them yet. I bet some people would think the books were left behind. Do you leave a not explaining that the books are free when you drop them?

I'd like Jellicoe Road! :)

Bish Denham said...

I love the Rock the Drop idea! And you're right it should happen more than once a year.

And please put my name in mix for Jellicoe Road.

Anne Gallagher said...

It's funny how people react to free. Some think it's a scam.

Monster Child is on spring break next week too. What am I going to do with that girl???

Have a great time!

(Leave me out of the give away.)

Rachel Stark said...

Bish, there's a way to have this happen more than once a year -- all the time, even! Check out

Sherrie, I have been dying to read The Water Wars and would love to be entered.

Kristan Hoffman said...

I've had the same thought as your daughter before. :)

(Instead of drops, though, I opted for online giveaways.)

Also, I totally saw those free ebooks yesterday and snatched them up! I'm so excited b/c I haven't read any MoJo yet.

Hmm, I confess I'm tiring of dystopian, so I would probably prefer Jellicoe Road or Soul Enchilada. Probaby JR first.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I heard about this idea a couple years ago, but it was just in NY - I love that it's spreading. #needtogetinonthis

Sign me up for Water Wars!

And EQUAL?? Holy cats, it's like a wildfire.

Tere Kirkland said...

I love reading posts like this! Sounds like you and your daughter had a lot of fun with Operation Book Drop.

I'd love to win The Water Wars!

Thanks, Sherrie!

Krispy said...

I'd totally be like your daughter. I'd want to see someone take the book, but yeah, if I were walking by and saw it, I probably would hesitate to take it. Haha.

I'd like Jellicoe Road. Heard so much about it! :)

Have fun on your break!

Riv Re said...

I regret not wandering around my entire city collecting books yesterday...
I'm still debating which ereader I should get. I mean, come on! Free Wings extras?
I don't think we'll lose paper books anytime soon, even though ebooks are greener.

Thanks for the giveaway! I'd love Water Wars!

Cialina at said...

Wow. That's an impressive statistic. To be honest, I am a total book snob and I will only buy hardcover. If there is only paperback available, I'd rather buy the ebook version, so to me, that statistic makes sense. :P

Anyways! I love the idea of Rock the Drop as well. I hope to establish a monthly giveaway of books I've read and want to pass on, but first I need to catch up with my reading pile!

I'd love to be entered in a drawing for The Water Wars! I've had my eye on that book for awhile now.


Caroline Hatton said...

Nice book give-away! I won't ask to be entered in it, though, because my pile of books-to-read is already leaning perilously. I'm thrilled that you're a middle-grade writer--like me.

Anita said...

You are so cool...and people are always going to love finding a good book!

Amanda Hoving said...

What a nice giveaway (and I love Rock the Drop)! I haven't read Soul Enchilada, so please enter me for that one.

Thanks, and hope you're enjoying your spring break~

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Such a cool idea! I love it. But do you put notes on them so people know they don't belong to anyone?

Love the idea of random book giving!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Carolina, we did glue a Rock the Drop! bookplate on the inside, but next time we'll leave a sticky note on the cover that says Free to a Good Home so people know right off that they can take the book if they're interested :)

Tiana Smith said...

I love that idea, and I agree that a note would help (I probably wouldn't take one, just assuming that someone would come back looking for them). I'd love to be entered for the Water Wars or maybe Soul Enchilada, though WW sounds more like my thing. Have a great break!

Christina Lee said...

Woo hoo! That stat is amazing!!

I haven't ready any of those books--so rock the drop right over here :)

Unknown said...

I still have to download 13 envelopes. I already own Wings.

Yep, one of my concerns about ebooks is you can't lead them out (or donate them). But at least no one can then accidentally destroy you book.

I'm off to download 13 envelopes before it's too late. :D

Lydia Kang said...

The book drop idea is so cool! Probably there needs to be a little sign on it that says, "I'm free, not lost. Take me home!"

Dawn Simon said...

Super fun! I like the idea of putting a note on the cover so people know they can take the books and keep them!

I heard about the rise in e-book sales too. Interesting, huh?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the links to the free e-books. I'm heading right over there!

Unknown said...

I'd love to win The Water Wars.

Ms. Yingling said...

I'm still trying to get my brain around recommending books to students when I can't have piles of actual books around. Most of the eBook data bases are so cumbersome. Hmmm.

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