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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Three Kinds of Books You Find in Amazon's Freebie Section

The Three Kinds of Books You Find in Amazon's Freebie Section
 I'm cheap. Let me get that out of the way first. You know that ass-chafing toilet paper that can only be found in high school bathrooms and state mental institutions? I buy that shit by the pallet. I can no longer sit down without a highly intricate, air-filled cushion, but I save over $20 a year. And a raw ass is a minor price to pay for smugness.
I also have no hobbies (because those cost money), never go out to eat (because they always insist that you pay the bill at the end), and for all intents and purposes live the life of a monk, without of course the natty robes and chanting.

Playa, please.
My one guilty pleasure is books.
Like all cloistered weirdos, when I'm not locked in my bedroom shouting at cars from my window, I like to read. Unfortunately, books also cost money and going to the library would require both spending money for gas and human interaction--two things that make my balls retreat into my body faster than the French during, well any vaguely military skirmish.  
Their surrender to the Boy Scouts was particularly embarrassing.
So I routinely haunt Amazon's freebie sections for books to read.
If you've never braved this veritable oasis of spiritualism, pervosity (if that's not a word, I'm coining it), and failure, then let me introduce you. Books that Amazon gives away fall into three categories:

1. Christianity

Unless the struggle is fitting into a latex body suit, I don’t want to read about it.

Ranging from non-fiction treatises on minor biblical characters who once spilled Jesus's wine at a cocktail party to thinly disguised moral-themed fiction (even more thinly disguised than Twilight), Christian books dominate the freebie section. And the worst part about it is that they never tell you it's a Christian book. You'll be reading what you think is the word equivalent of eye porn, the main characters will tear off their corsets (or other antiquated undergarments), drop to their knees and instead of four paragraphs of people doing inhuman things to one another with a feather duster, you get...prayer. This is sadly a common theme. Just when things start to get good in these books, the characters burst into spontaneous prayer. And because in addition to being a cheap, isolated, loser, I'm also OCD, I have to finish reading these books. Here's a hint--at least one main character gets killed off in these things in the most random of ways in the denouement equivalent of, "I told you so."
2. Public Domain Books

Reading her is a chore, but admit it, you’d totally hit that, right?
If you were that one kid who read everything your high school teacher assigned you back in freshman English instead of stealing the Cliff Notes from your local bookstore (remember those?), then prepare to change your shorts. It's going to get wet up in here! This section is Jane Austen's playground. In a pinch, I'll download Oliver Twist or Moby Dick or some other shit I had, up until now, successfully avoided. Though it's hard to focus with all the ghostly laughter from my old English Lit teacher resonating in my head.

3. Indies
So many books…so little punctuation. Why, god, why!
Meaning independent authors. Meaning people not good enough to have been picked up by an agent, a publisher, or apparently a public school education. For the most part, the work is awful with a wanton disregard for the rules of grammar that would require someone like Judge Dredd or RoboCop to reign back in. And when it's not being awful, it's being derivative. Do a search on Fifty Shades and see how many ingenious indies incorporated those words into the title. Buying one of these books is like ordering a McRib and expecting, well any sort of meat by-product on a bun. But occasionally, these indies produce some real gems--innovative, creative, outlandish, even poetic. Nothing publishable, mind you, but sometimes for all the right reasons. I could list all my favorites (and there are a surprising amount of them), but after wading through a dozen different 'Christian romances' whose central theme is celibacy, I'm not in a sharing mood.

Jamie Wasserman is an indie author who frequently gives away his books on Amazon.

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