Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Tale of the Free Book

Come little children, gather round.  I will tell you a story of swashbuckling pirates, true love, giants, deception, and war.  Okay, not really.  If you want that story you should read The Princess Bride.

But, I am going to tell you a story about Goodreads and how I got a free book.  I know it doesn't sound as interesting, and that may be because it's not as interesting.  But it was a neat experience for me, so I hope you find it at least somewhat to your liking.

You see, about 2 years ago I decided that it would be cool to write a review on Goodreads, of every book that I read.  I really don't know how much value they give to others.  I mostly do it to help me remember what I liked and didn't like about each book as well as remembering quotes or themes that I was able to pull out of the book.

Since it's been a few years and I am an avid reader, I have built up quite a set of reviews.  I don't know exactly how many there are but I would guess it's around 80 or 90.

Well, apparently my reviews are not bad because I got an email from a blogger that I have followed for a long time.  He recently came out with a book and I had added it to my list of books to read but had not yet actually purchased or read it.  He desired in his heart for me to review his book.  This is what the email said:

Jeff, I noticed you've marked my book, "Uncommon Sense: A Common Citizen's Guide to Rebuilding America," as "to-read." I'll make you a deal: I'll send you a free copy if you promise to 1) read it as soon as possible, and 2) post your review on Goodreads and Amazon. What do you say? If you're up for it, I'd just need your mailing address. Thanks! Stephen Palmer
This would be an excellent cover for a book about uncommon sense.

Now, for someone who writes a review of every book I read, this seemed like a phenomenally good deal.  Especially since I have found Stephen Palmer's blog to be well written and insightful.  Naturally, I sent him my address with great haste.

When the book arrived, I opened it up and saw this.

I guess I didn't realize he would sign it.  It made me feel suddenly cool and in the know.  I had an author sign his book for me, and not because I stood in a line at a Wal-Mart where he was signing books, but because he actually wanted me to read it.  (Authors are not like real people to me.  They're like celebrities, only more intelligent.  They say smart stuff that people read.  I apologize if my geeking out about this is disgusting you.)

I hungrily devoured the book.  I found it to be filled with wisdom.  I found that the note he wrote in the front of the book was an excellent thesis for the entire book.  Change really does begin with you and me, and not in Washington.  The message really spoke to me and I learned a lot from the book.  (You can read my full review and list of awesome quotes from the book here.)

There are two morals to this story.  (I bring you so much wisdom and morality.)  The first is that you should read this book.  It's an easy read and you can buy it at amazon or borrow my copy that has been signed by the author.  (I like rubbing it in.)

The second is that if you write a book you should let me read it for free.  I promise to write a good review.  Unless your book is really bad, then I am willing to not write a review, which would be kinder than actually writing the review of how bad your book is.  But if you're planning to write a really bad book, my suggestion is don't do it.

It should be noted that my friend Chanel has written a book.  She graduated from normal person to smart person, who has written stuff that people pay to read.  She let me read her book for free as well.  It was an excellent read.  I even wrote a review.  So buy her book on amazon.

All the rest of you who have not sent me free books:  Let's get on that.


  1. Thank you Jeff. I don't think I'm really a smart person yet, but the fact that you think I am means a lot to me.

  2. I actually liked your story a lot better than the Princess Bride. That's cool that he contacted you just from your reviews on Goodreads!

    I haven't written a book that I can give you for free, but I am in the process of making it possible for many thousands of people in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and England to read something you have written. That counts, right?

  3. Chanel, I really mean it. I was a little nervous when I read your book because if I didn't like it I was going to have the moral dilemma of honesty versus saying nice things. But I was really super impressed by it.

    Heather, that totally counts. I'm pretty excited to see my words in the Ensign and Liahona magazines.

  4. Good story. It may not be the kind of story that I want Columbo to read to me when I'm sick, but it was a good story nonetheless. When I write a book I will totally give you several free copies. Maybe I'll have to borrow this book from you sometime.

  5. I am still waiting for you to write your book! I thought you wanted to be a bajillionair?

  6. YOU ARE SO FAMOUS. Maybe I should send you a copy of the book I took the cover photo for (Sons of the Covenant: Sophia) if you'd want to read it and blog about your opinions on it...hahaha. ;)


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