This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
So, Christmas Eve I get an e-mail circular from Black Library suggesting that they would be sending out a special freebie on Christmas Day, which would involve an opportunity to acquire an e-book version of Rob Sanders’ Legion of the Damned, the latest volume in their Space Marine Battles series which doesn’t emerge in print until April. Oh, what a good idea, I thought. There’ll be lots of people with brand new e-readers on Christmas Day, so giving out a substantial sample of Legion of the Damned, or offering a big discount on the ebook download price, or even giving away a free ebook from the Black Library back catalogue which is connected to the book in some way, or anything like that would be a really good way to hook those potential new customers of their ebook range.
Christmas morning comes around and I’m sat with a freshly unwrapped Kindle in my hand, I check my e-mail and sure enough, there’s a message from Black Library bearing links to an exclusive download of… a desktop wallpaper featuring the cover art of the book. Plus a link to buy the thing at their standard e-book price. Not one to be thwarted, I plugged in my credit card details and got to downloading the thing.
Ha! I thought. That’ll teach ’em to drop oblique hints which could be misinterpreted as suggesting a free e-book giveaway, prompting people to build up expectations of being able to read Legion of the Damned on Christmas Day! I’ll just pay money to do it and it’ll be just like they gave me that free sample after all! Those cheapskates can’t stop me from giving them money and buying their stuff… from… buying…