Of course ebooks weren't around then, Kindles weren't around, and thousands of free books weren't being given away every day. The best way to get someone to read your books? Give them your first book for free. If they liked it, they'll be back to read your other novels. The giveaway of The Davinci Code earlier this summer was of course to stir up more buzz for Inferno, which is on my to-be-read list.
Earlier this summer it was revealed that J.K Rowling was really Robert Galbraith, author of The Cuckoo's Calling.
Amazon sold out of their hardcopies almost instantly. That would have been a bigger problem in year's past, but today people could still immediately purchase a digital copy. The publisher quickly dropped the price of the ebook version--currently it's $6.50, or 75% off the print list price. That's less expensive than each of the Harry Potter ebooks. But what better way to jump on all the unexpected publicity than to offer a huge discount? I know I downloaded a copy. That's cheaper than many paperbacks.
Offering a great price for an eBook isn't anything new to indie authors. I'm glad to see some of the traditional publishing houses offering competitive pricing as well. It's good for readers, good for authors, and good business for the publishing houses as well.
I've got a follow-up post on the flipside of pricing your digital book. While these are great examples of promotions done right, I've seen others that are all wrong.