Unknown authors looking to break into the book market might have a better shot after Lulu.com, the self-publishing site started by Red Hat co-founder Bob Young, said it will allow its users to sell their eBooks to readers for free.
"Being able to give away content for free is the ultimate marketing tool in this changing electronic market, which has become more and more dependent on impulse buying patterns," said Young, CEO of Lulu.com, in a release.
Lulu.com said both traditional and self-published authors are increasingly using free eBooks to boost overall sales.
The company cited Cory Doctorow, author of "With a Little Help," who said readers treat free eBooks as "enticements, not replacements" for print books.
Doctorow, known for giving away his eBooks, said free eBooks are especially helpful for unknown authors who often have to prove to readers their content is worth paying for.
"Freely available text is the most compelling sample there is," Doctorow said in the release.
According to Lulu's website, the authors that price their eBooks from 99 cents to $2.99 sell more units and earn more revenue than those in other ranges.
The company, founded in 2002, has 1.1 million creators and 20,000 titles added to its collection each month.
Though authors publish for free, Lulu.com takes up to 20 percent of the profit they set when their works sell.