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BookGorilla: Free e-books in Your Favorite Literary Genres

New site BookGorilla alerts readers to Amazon discounts and freebies for ebooks they’ll like. Users sign up for the type of books they read, like sci-fi, young adult, or cookbooks, and receive daily emails offering books in that genre for 99 cents, a penny, or a free download.

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Look, I usually don’t advocate for more email. No matter how aggressive I am, in setting up GMail filters, somehow exciting offers from that store I shopped at once three years ago keep making it through. But BookGorilla is actually performing a service I need – finding books I want to buy and telling me they’re on sale for a penny. (Why yes, I have written entire editorials on how buying a Kindle is actually a money saving move when you connect it to your public library’s e-catalog.)

BookGorilla finds authors giving a one-day free copy of their new book and alerts readers who’re interested in similar titles. It’s great because instead of screwing over content creators by pirating novels, broke readers are actually supporting indie authors. The obvious downside is that BookGorilla frequently offers the first book in a series, but if it’s so good that I want the second one, I won’t mind actually purchasing the second one.

Over the last few weeks, BookGorilla has offered an interesting collection of mainstream bestsellers and undiscovered titles. Some are even free, but most are a penny or ninety-nine cents. I think the most expensive BookGorilla offer for example, was a $9.99 ebook discounted to $2.99.

The service connects an author with a new title to readers and tastemakers. Bibliophiles have already seen sites like GoodReads facilitating author giveaways for active members, because authors and publishers realize the power that socially connected, interested readers can have in promoting a book. Most of us aren’t terribly interested in traditional advertising, but are very interested in what our friends are liking and reading. A good review from an active GoodReads user can influence quite a lot of readers (and active social media users), and be quite valuable to the author. NetGalley, a program connecting publishers with book reviewers, also offers advance reader copies to widely read bloggers and social media stars.

BookGorilla is open to any interested reader, not just a reviewer or social media star, but I think the same benefits for authors still apply now that a one-day free download promotion can reach more interested potential readers. This means reaching readers who’ve actually signed up because of their interest in reading a certain genre, and not just friends of friends who’ve been guilted into liking a self-pubbed author’s promo Facebook page. (I’m just saying….)

Users need any version of Kindle, or a Kindle reader app on an iPad, in order to take advantage of BookGorilla, since the discounted offers are all ebooks. Books and offers come through Amazon, so sadly a Barnes&Noble Nook won’t do. Users will also need an Amazon account (Wait, is there anyone who doesn’t have one?) to facilitate downloading all the free and very cheap books from BookGorilla.