There is a loophole marketing technique that many so called “gurus” are using these days in attempt to take advantage of folks online.
The process in my eyes is quite abusive and it leads to people getting sucked out of $1,000’s of their hard earned money when all they wanted was a free book. And for this reason, I present you with the Free Plus Shipping book scheme.
You have likely seen many of them, all you have to do is go to your Facebook feed and scroll through a few items and you will likely see one of these offers on there. Such an example would be:”Get my free book, all you have to pay for is the shipping?”
If you have seen offers like this, great. I am going to fill you in. If you haven’t perfect, I am going to offer you insights to guard yourself from potentially losing a lot of money as a result of these. If you have succumb to one of these offers, chances are this post is going to be something that you are really going to be able to relate to.
Just the shipping, seems like a good deal right?
Well usually you end up paying $10 or so for shipping (or more), this covers the cost of the production of the book. This removes the entire idea of the owner of the book capturing a loss every time he or she gives one of these away. In fact, often times you are not just paying for the product + shipping costs, there is a positive ROI being generated from the “shipping” costs.
The problem is that these free books are typically completely worthless and if they have a hint substance, were they worth the price of a normal soft copy book that you could have gotten from your local book store? Highly doubtful. Could you not have gotten a better book by going through Amazon and searching for a “credible” author, one with clout within a given industry and the business world that could have offered you insight.
The point is, there is no risk for the creator of these “free ebooks” because you are actually paying for the product when you send them money for the shipping costs. Free is not free after all.
A Quality Book, Or One That Lacks Substance?
As I have already briefly touched on, the free books are just a tool for these marketing companies to “sink” their teeth into your wallet. Perhaps a little nibble at first, but there is much more to come.
The actual value you get with these books is going to be limited. These books are often times written over a weekend or in a few weeks time. They are almost definitely going to be full of continual company branding or in some cases, complete sales pitches. The ultimate goal is not going to be leaving you with value, it is to get you to sign up for their other product and services.
Not ALL are horrible, but any legitimate author is going to charge for their “books”. You see the likes of Timothy Ferris (the guy from 4 hour work week) creating incredibly insightful content, content that people are willing to pay for even though we are residing within a digital world.
You see Seth Godin charging for his books, he always writes wonderful and very useful content. You see Warren Buffet charging for his books. You see Malcolm Gladwell charging for this books. (These are a few of my favourite authors by the way).
They charge because they offer value and insights within the actual book. The book is not a marketing ploy that is going to lead to other incredible upsells and costs. Which is what I want to discuss.
The Free Book is Just the Start
You will find that the internet is rife with complaints about people that have gotten sucked into these offers. They have been sucked out of several $1,000’s within back end offers, be it through live “seminars”, webinars, expensive digital products, or directly into an MLM scheme.
When you buy the book, YOU instantly become a marketing tool for this company. You are a buyer, they have your credit card, they have your address, and now they are going to be able to promote other stuff to you. In the world of shady marketing, you have become an ‘object’ of further revenue for the company that is offering the free ebook offer.
The free plus shipping book is their slimy way of exposing your personal details, which they will then utilize to commoditize you.
Are People Falling For The “Free Book” Trap?
The answer is YES (unfortunately).
Someone operating their business in this way would say, “well this is just marketing”. I would argue that. There are ethical ways to sell and to build revenue and there are unethical ways to do this. When you are misleading your customers through a complete illusion or a facade (which the free book plus shipping is), then you are operating your business in an unethical way.
I hope that those that read this, that are seeing these offers and may even be intrigued by them truly have an appreciation and understanding what is going on. I hope that those of you that have been sucked into a resulting scam or scheme from these sorts of “free book” offers will share their experiences below.
And I hope that those that have taken part in a free book offer recently have the knowledge now to protect them from additional costs that are instituted often times by various forms of pressure marketing.
I would love your feedback, questions, or insights you have into the “free book…plus shipping” offers. Please leave your comments below!