I ran across this article on Slate.com today. It’s a good read, but I must confess that the last line had me scratching my head a bit. Anyone who thinks it will hurt Kindle’s reputation to be a venue for free erotica is missing the point. As I pointed out in yesterday’s post, trade paperback romance novels aren’t exactly aimed at your average Sunday school teacher, and until publishers sought to make romance novels more politically correct many of those books could easily have passed for a slightly tamer version of Office Slave.
If people think Amazon allowing publishers to give away erotica free is crazy, then they are right. Amazon is crazy, but crazy like a fox. They know the customers will be back for more, and publishers who give sample books away (we do it each month) are showing not only appreciation for their readers, but also confidence that those free samples will lead to sales.
Readers’ tastes haven’t changed. The only thing that has changed is accessibility. Today women can download any racy read they want onto their Kindle, Nook or other e-reader and enjoy it in complete privacy. It’s a win-win for booksellers, publishers, authors and readers. And it’s hardly anything for Amazon to worry about.