As a special holiday treat, publisher Open Road Media is making free literally hundreds of ebooks in every genre, for a limited time.
ORM was founded by ex-Random House editors, and has made a specialty of bringing back into print older works by well-known authors in their fields, as well as publishing newer works by them as well.
The freebies in their catalogue includes authors such as Howard Fast (author of Spartacus, the novel which the movie was based upon), Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple, also the basis of a film), Pearl S. Buck (Nobel Prize winner), and many more.
A very brief sampling of the genres and authors available (there’s literally probably something for every taste):
- For non-fiction: history (Walter Lord, author of A Night to Remember, which a film about the Titanic was based upon); political history (Rebecca West); literary & arts criticism (Mary McCarthy); travel writing (Laurence Durrell); cookbooks (James Beard); biographies (Marion Meade); autobiographies (Candy Darling, a celebrity involved with Andy Warhol); author advice (Richard Curtis, a former literary agent)
For fiction: science fiction & fantasy (Andre Norton, Jane Yolen, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson, all SFWA Grandmasters); historical fiction (Cecelia Holland); westerns (Paul Lederer); murder mystery novels (Susan Dunlap); suspense thrillers (Geoffrey Household); LGBT novelists (National Book Award-winner Paul Monette, Jane Rule, and more); romance (Elizabeth Chadwick); YA suspense (Caroline B. Cooney); YA fantasy (Bruce Coville); YA horror (Diane Hoh); childrens’ picture books (The Berenstain Bears series)
Offered in the US only, at Amazon only, through December 20th or 21st. Unfortunately, it looks like the promotion was withdrawn early on the 19th. Nice while it lasted, though.
Open Road Media have not put up an official listing of what’s in the promotion. I’ve put a partial list of authors with freebies by genre below, and will try to add more and update it through the next few days as I go through what’s available. A Facebook post by one of their PR people says that the promotion will last until either the 20th or 21st (there’s a follow-up comment which is mildly contradictory).
This appears to be valid in the US only. Aside from a couple of regular promotional novellas, the titles are not free in other countries that have been tried.
The main way to browse the freebies is by going through the filtered search pages for their imprints as follows, for which there is no overlap between the titles:
- Open Road Media (main imprint, ~1200 titles)
- Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (~450 titles)
- Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (~450 titles)
- Open Road Media Romance (~220 titles)
- Open Road Media Teen & Tween (~550 titles)
- Open Road Media Younger Readers (~100 titles)
But if you are interested in something in particular by genre or author, it may be easier to go to Open Road Media’s website and browse their catalogue, categories, and/or authors pages to see if there’s something you might like and check if it’s free by using an author name search like so:
(ETA: sorry, WordPress is auto-escaping the & in the URLs, which breaks the search, and they’re not obeying my attempts to get it to show literally; you’ll have to substitute regular & for each
&, and here’s a clickable version that you can modify in your browser: https://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=digital-text&sort=price-asc-rank&field-publisher=open+road*&field-author=barbara+hambly)
(Copy-paste and substitute the desired author’s name at the end. For best results, don’t use the middle name which sometimes ORM omits in their Amazon author listings. For greater efficiency if an author has a common first or last name that might be shared by another, use just that, so you can see all the free books by any “Barbara” that you might be interested in. This method may catch extra freebies which due to system glitching don’t show up in the $0.00 imprint search listings.)
NB: Quite a lot of genre titles are placed in the plain Open Road Media imprint, and a number of hybrid/crossover titles are filed in one imprint or the other because of the author’s usual genre (e. g. some non-sfnal mystery titles are under Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy, some paranormal/supernatural horror are under Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller, some suspense thrillers are under Romance)
Authors by Genre
NB: many authors wrote in multiple genres, and/or for both fiction and non-fiction. Some literary/genre authors also have collections of poetry, essays, or autobiographies.
- Biographies: Diana Souhami, Marion Meade, Catherine O’Sullivan Shore
- Cookbooks: James Beard, Marlene Dietrich, Gioietta Vitale
- Essays/Autobiographies: Alice Walker, Rebecca West, Iris Murdoch, John Gardner, May Sarton, Geoffrey Householder
- History: Rebecca West, Walter Lord, Ernie Bradshaw
- Industry Retrospectives/Advice: Richard Curtis (writing and literary agency), Richard Kirshenbaum (advertising)
- Literary/Arts Criticism: Mary McCarthy, George Steiner
- Travel Writing: Laurence Durrell, Tristan Jones
Literary/General Fiction & Poetry
- Literary Fiction: Alice Walker, Iris Murdoch, Alison Lurie, May Sarton, John Gardner
- Poetry: Alice Walker, Jane Yolen, Luis Rodriguez, Frank O’Connor, John Ashbery, Robin Morgan, May Sarton, Paul Monette, Nancy Willard, Jessie Haas, Ray Young Bear
Special Interest Fiction & Non-
- LGBT: Paul Monette, Jane Rule, William J. Mann, Helen Eisenbach, Diana Souhami
- Feminist & other activist: Alix Shulman, Robin Morgan, Jessica Amanda Salmonson
- Indigenous & African-American & Jewish & other cultural: Ray Young Bear, Alice Walker, Virginia Hamilton, Peter Singer, Clancy Sigal, Howard Engel; see also Sandra Kitt (interracial romances), Howard Fast (mysteries with Japanese detective), Jessica Amanda Salmonson (historical novels based on RL Japanese samurai), Pamela Sargent (historical novel based on Genghis Khan)
NB: for genre & YA fiction, I’ll mostly only list the authors who have extra titles which can be found outside of the dedicated imprints, or whose works I find particularly noteworthy (or are just my personal favourites)
- Mystery/Suspense not under the Mystery imprint: Barbara Hambly (historical sleuth), Frank Lauria (occult detective), Howard Fast (suspense with romantic elements)
- Science Fiction & Fantasy in other imprints: R. A. MacAvoy, Howard Fast (collections of dedicated sfnal short stories), Fay Weldon (some speculative literary fiction)
- YA Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Teen & Tween imprint: Nancy Springer, Jane Yolen, Andre Norton, Bruce Coville, Robert Newman, Bernard Evslin, Pamela Sargent, John Gardner
- Other-Genre books by SF/Fantasy authors: Pamela Sargent, Cecelia Holland, Jessica Amanda Salmonson (all historical fiction)
- Romance or strong romantic elements: Eileen Goudge