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Why You Shouldn’t Give Away Free eBooks

By Ron Douglas
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004

If Internet Marketing were a college major, in Lesson 1 of “Internet Marketing 101” you would be taught to give away free ebooks:

* As a promotion for your main product
* As a bonus to enhance your product offering
* As an incentive to build your email subscriber list

Anyone who’s into Internet Marketing is familiar with this fundamental technique. Practically every ebook you read teaches this.

I boldly declare that I disagree with this strategy! I know this goes against many of the teachings of the top marketers, but I say – don’t give away free ebooks - and I’ll tell you why…

Reason 1
Giving away ebooks written by someone else is like owning a candy store and offering everyone who comes into your store a free sample of the candy from the store across the street. You essentially are promoting your competitor’s business for free.

Reason 2
If you’ve written a free promotional ebook, what incentive are you giving other marketers and publishers to promote it? Going back to reason 1, is it really in their best interest to distribute your product? You may not realize it, but you are losing money from what’s known as opportunity costs.

Don’t get me wrong, the free ebook strategy has been successfully used for many years. However, now there’s an even better strategy - Brandable eBooks.

A brandable ebook allows you to add or “brand” your affiliate link into the ebook. Thus, if someone buys your competitor’s product because of the free ebook you gave away, at least you make money from affiliate commissions.

If you’re a marketer, it’s in your best interest to make all of your free ebooks brandable. This way you give your affiliates a powerful incentive to distribute your ebook to the masses.

Brandable ebooks are one of the easiest and most powerful Viral Marketing strategies available. Not only does it give people the money-motivated incentive to spread (distribute) your ebook around the Internet like a virus, it is also a great way to attract new affiliates.

Brandable ebooks create a win-win situation for marketers, publishers, and readers alike. The problem is, where do you find brandable ebooks? And as a marketer, how do you make your free ebook brandable and spread the word about it to the Internet marketing community? Luckily, there is now a site that fulfill these demands -


And the best part is - these services for marketers and publishers are free. Experience the power of viral marketing.


About the Author
Ron Douglas is the founder of - the Internet's first open directory of brandable information products - as well as several other sites. You can learn more about him at (


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