Selling Ebooks or Give them away for free and include Affiliate links?

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Selling Ebooks or Give them away for free and include Affiliate links?

Freelancers, Affiliates and Authors..
As you might know, I'm an author and I've been selling ebooks for a while now. However, what I've never done is to include affiliate links to products or services, and I personally believe that I've always charged a decent price for my ebooks.

That being said, there's an endless stream of self-claimed authors out there who gives away their ebooks free of charge, but they do this because they've often filled their ebooks with affiliate links. - By doing that, they can and most likely will reach more people, as they don't charge a single cent for their content.

However, I personally don't like this approach at all. I prefer to charge whatever I want for my creations and I rarely include any affiliate links at all, and in some specific cases when I've done that, I also state that in the book. - What do you think about this? - What do you prefer?

Best Regards,


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I think that even if an ebook is free, many are not going to get that much value for it if it does not contain proper content. If it is only about affiliate links it is not going to be effective in my opinion. You could try to give one out for free of course, but all in all I would rather not stick to that method always.

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Even if that ebook has an amazing content on it, people will never see it as something that worth to read like they do with paid ebooks, this is my opinion. I'm not an author, but as a programmer I would never share something for free again, I did that in the past, well actually it's not that it was a big project but yeah I had invested my time to built it, and you know what got in return from that software, nothing. If you're planning to give it completely for free i would say rethink it again, better set a low price than sharing it for free.

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I would say, do both! And in fact, a lot of big eBook authors do. They have those eBooks that they spent a lot of time working on that have a lot of valuable information in them that they sell. And they have those quick flick eBooks that only took an hour to make or something that is on something that might be valuable to people in that industry which they give away for free.

Free eBooks usually have affiliate links in them, or just links to their own site. As these eBooks are shared around the Internet, they can end up embedded on other peoples sites, social networking sites and the like, and that all links back to your site. Where as some of them just have a couple affiliate links in them as a recommendation or something like that. Some have far too many affiliate links though! And some have a mix of links to the authors site and affiliate links within that eBook as well.

I think sharing free eBooks can be a very good thing for you if done right and done consistently. Some blogs readers even come to expect them as some bloggers turn their blog posts into eBooks which can be downloaded and stored and read offline or for a rainy day and that in time can help to increase traffic to your site from the people that downloaded it and from the people they sent/shared it with.

Myself, I don't like eBooks (free or paid) that have a lot of affiliate links in them. eBooks should be informative by nature and just be a store of content. They shouldn't be a smorgasbord of affiliate links as that just annoys me and also devalues the eBook itself IMHO.

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It all depends on what the person wants to achieve. if you want to distribute a link like an affiliate link, then to achieve a higher percentage of sign-ups, it will be much better to distribute it for FREE but if otherwise for the sake of earning some cash online, then sell it. The only difference in the content is that those selling it will contain include stuffs that cannot be gotten easily via research or the internet and if implemented, it is capable of adding some gains for the buyer unlike those who are given the ebook for free.

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I have found that affiliate links don't work very well to make you money so I prefer creating a very high quality ebook and then sell it for money but to maximise your income, you should try to add related affiliate links to your ebook. For example, if your ebook is about making money online, then you may be able to have affiliate links to websites about making money. If you make the affiliate links related to your ebook, then it won't make your ebook look spammy and at the same time, the readers will be more likely to join the websites under your affiliate link. I think the key to affiliate links in your ebook is to make them relevant rather than spamming your ebook with links on every page. This is the method I have been using and I have been getting some good results in terms of affiliate sales.

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I agree with Mike, do both!

I have done one of each Andre and both have turned out quite successfully. The ebook I wrote to give away for free isn't a very long ebook but it has good information in it and I believe it is quite well written. I have a few affiliate links in it, where applicable. The main goal of creating this ebook was to gain subscribers and that goal has been reached. I have regular subscribers on my website and of course a bonus is that every subscriber could click on my affiliate links Selling Ebooks or Give them away for free and include Affiliate links?

My second ebook is the one I just published for sale. I have no affiliate links in there, it is pure content. Although I did create a free preview of the ebook to give away to new subscribers too (for a different website to the first ebook) and this has also worked incredibly well.

I say play around and do different things, see what works for you!

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If the ebooks are free and are engaging enough to make me read it, yeah sure, put some affiliate link in there, I won't mind since its already free.

As far as paid ebooks, well just let's say I don't like the idea of getting affiliate links for a content I already paid money, in essence, makes no difference I think, it's just someone earning a little extra without affecting me directly but I would like everything clean of such things. Like when you buy a android game just to get rid of the ads.

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This is really a difficult question.
Too many free ebooks, so it's difficult to stand out from the crowd!
By putting a price, nice design and title, etc. you can stand out from the crowd, but at the same time, many people do not want to pay...
I think it will depend on some factors.
Maybe a mix of the two: a simple free version and a more complete version of the ebook for the paid offers but both with affiliate links.

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I have tried both methods and both of these methods have drawback. Even though selling and giving for free both are good methods, there are other factors involved on this.
If you are onto selling, you will know how hard it is to convince people to buy your book. You cannot publish and just wait for people to find it and buy it. If you are not a celebrity sort, it is really had to sell ebooks.
Giving free sounds good for promoting your affiliate links. However, you have to understand people undermine the value of free books. I will give example from my own experience. I have hardly given a second look on the books I received for free.

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