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How To Get Free Books To Give Away On Your Blog

One of the most successful ways to bring in new subscribers to your blog is to give away a bonus when people sign up.

In this post Brian Armstrong from StartBreakingFree.com shares some tips on getting free books to give away on your blog.

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If you’re like most people, you haven’t had time to write a great book to give away as a sign-up bonus. Well, today I’m going to show you two very easy ways to get such a book:

  • Create your own with an e-book template
  • Use someone else’s book that is in the public domain (you’d be amazed how many great books are out there for free!)

Create Your Own eBook In 48 Hours With An E-book Template

About a year ago I stumbled across these excellent e-book templates which were being given away by Eben Pagan (he is a successful internet marketer and deserves all the credit for these, I didn’t create them!)

They have a professional design in nine different colors, come with instructions, and make it super easy to get a book done quickly.

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Here are the steps which I’ve personally used to create an eBook in less than 48 hours:

  • Use a “top 10″ formula. Writing a book from scratch sounds hard but anybody can come up with 10 tips in their niche. Even if it ends up being only 20 or 30 pages that’s ok for an eBook.
  • Create a catchy title based on the top 10 theme, such as “10 Ways To Raise Your Grades By Studying Smarter, Not Harder” or “10 Secrets To Making Money Online”
  • Come up with the 10 tips by brainstorming and looking at the best posts on your blog.
  • Put the tips in a logical order and include several sub-points under each one.
  • Now plug your tips and sub-points into the template and write a paragraph or two under each one (copy and paste text from blog posts you’ve already written when appropriate).
  • Summarize your main points in an introduction and conclusion and you’ve got a book!
  • Use Adobe Reader to convert it to a PDF for distrbution.

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You should also familiarize yourself with Microsoft Word’s “styles” to keep your formatting consistent. If you want to change how a subheading looks, for example, you shouldn’t change it manually. Instead, you should edit the “subheading style” and it will apply your changes to all the subheadings. This will save you a lot of time down the road.

Finally, upload your PDF to your server and find a way to automatically send your eBook to new subscribers. In Feedburner you can include this link in the confirmation email (login to Feedburner and go to Publicize -> Email Subscriptions -> Communication Preferences). Similar options exist for Aweber and other newsletter providers. Some people also include the link in the bottom of every RSS post.

Second Option: Get Free Books To Give Away!

The second, and perhaps easier, method is to use a book that someone else has already written.

There are an amazing number of books in the public domain (and also under the creative commons license, more on this later) which you can give away on your site. For example, in my niche of entrepreneurship, I paid good money for three books years ago that I heard were excellent: Think and Grow Rich, The Richest Man In Babylon, and The Way To Wealth.

Imagine how surprised I was to discover that all three of these books were now available online for free! I found PDF copies using the method I describe below and started giving them away on my website. My subscribers started going up immediately!

So how do you find these books? Well, according to Wikipedia

In the United States, all books and other works published before 1923 have expired copyrights and are in the public domain. In addition, works published before 1964 that did not have their copyrights renewed 28 years after first publication year also are in the public domain…

Many books which are not in the public domain can still be found under the creative commons license. The Creative Commons license is somewhere in between a full copyright and a public domain work. Many times, the work can still be given away for free, but you are not allowed to sell it and you must pay attribution to the original author. This still works fine for our sign-up bonus however.

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I’ve had the most success finding public domain and creative commons works at a site called Scribd.com.

They have tons of PDF’s of various works. And it’s easy to see the the copyright at the bottom of each page. Many of them use the creative commons terms like “attribution” (meaning you must keep the original author’s name in there) or “non-commercial” (meaning you can’t sell it). It’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with these terms by visiting the creative commons definitions page.

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Once you’d found a PDF you like, you can download it directly from Scribd.com and use it in the same way described above.

Conclusion

Now you have no excuse NOT to give away a great sign-up bonus for your new subscribers! Set aside some time this week to get this together, and start watching your subscriber numbers climb!

To get more tips like these, check out Brian Armstrong’s blog at StartBreakingFree.com. It’s full of great advice on how to quit your 9-to-5, start your own business, and achieve financial freedom. He’ll even send you 3 of the top 10 books ever written on building wealth for FREE when you subscribe, instantly delivered to your inbox!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Tumblemoose says:

    Thanks for pointing out what should have been painfully obvious. I’ve been wanting to give away an e-book on tumblemoose but thought that an e-book project would just be too cumbersome at this time.

    Cheers.

    George

  2. iqbal says:

    Thanks for such beautiful tips. Really enjoyed all this info.

  3. Rodney Smith says:

    Thanks for the tip. Scribd is a great resource – just did a search and found titles like “PHP and MySQL for Dummies” and “PHP5 and MySQL Bible”. Quite how these have been release under a CC licence I’m not sure, but they do seem to be (at least according to scribd).

  4. Thanks for the templates. I have created about 4 ebooks and have been looking for a template.

  5. Love the post and some great comments here.

    However, I’m still waiting to see if anyone can answer the person above who asked how they can give away an eBook to the people who subscribe by RSS?

  6. Kate says:

    A very interesting concept. I agree that it has many possible positives and negatives. Something to think about, though!

  7. pilidyemy says:

    Thanks for the pillar, i dont unusually do much christmas shopping but hesitation underneath, also i be dressed added you to RSS want survive proclaiming :)

    http://xmasgifts.freebloghosting.co.uk/2008/10/09/welcome-to-my-christmas-gift-blog/

  8. Thank you, thank you! This is exactly what I needed!

  9. Blogger Tips says:

    This is a great idea to gain new readers. Thanks

  10. Rick says:

    I like this idea and plan to add it to my sites but like a couple of the people above I can’t for the life of me see how you can allow the download once they are registered? Any suggestions would be a help.

  11. Yu Ming Lui says:

    Thanks Darren for sharing this great resource. This would definitely help fledgling blogs like my own.

  12. @Saurabh – some people still do this with a feed only, by including a link at the bottom of each post, check out http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com for an example

    @Nathan – have you tried adsense for feeds? private ad sales work well here too

    @Andy Merrett – you have can have a commercial site, as long as you don’t sell the book

    @markowe – WordBay – you’re right that might not have been clear, as I recall from using a PC (it’s been a while) when you install adobe reader it installs a “print to pdf” option that is available in any print menu. this comes by default on Mac’s. You can use any PDF creator tho.

    Regarding several comments about driving traffic away from your site: most of these books that are now available were written a while back. The authors have often passed away (Ben Franklin?) and even if they are still alive they aren’t likely to have blogs. Just a thought :)

    Thanks everyone for the comments and glad you enjoyed the post!
    -Brian Armstrong

  13. venkat says:

    Its nice way to get more subscribers every blogger should consider this in my opinion.

  14. Using the ebook templates. Also checking out Sribd and public domain books. Some really good Dale Carnegie books available. Thanks for the continued good resources and info.

  15. I took the ebook template and am using it for mine. I thought that I was going to have to pay someone for it thanks. I really liked the idea of getting a book that doesn’t have a copywrite to it. thanks

  16. Nick says:

    Thank you very much for this post. This is exactly what I was looking for. I guess it’s time to write a book.

  17. Nice tips, I really like them and I am looking forward to use them to get some ebooks on my website. I have already downloaded the ebook templates.
    ————————————–
    afaqtrafficblog.blogspot.com.

  18. Joel says:

    Thank you so much darren! :)