Like all of you, in recent weeks I have been more preoccupied than usual with current events. As a result, the content here since mid-March has focused on the daily news.
The name of this site, though, is Edward Trimnell Books. I chose that name for a reason. Commentaries on the news will always have a place here. (I’m rather opinionated, as you may have noticed.) That said, this site isn’t, strictly speaking, a news site. I primarily write books, many of which you can find on Amazon.
This is a business for me. I’m an author, of course; but I’m also a micro-publisher.
Nevertheless, these are tough times for many readers. The COVID-19 shutdown has cut US economic activity by about a third. Unemployment now hovers at an unbelievable 18%. Hopefully the economy will be reopened soon, and the raw numbers will improve. Many people, though, will need time to recover from this unprecedented interruption to normal life.
In light of these highly unusual circumstances, I would like to make all of my books available to readers for free.
This is already the case with most of my existing library, if you’re a member of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.
I realize, though, that Kindle Unlimited won’t be the right option for some of you. And as much as I love Amazon, people were reading online long before anyone ever heard of a Kindle.
One of the purposes of a website is to provide free online content. Without something for people to read, a website is nothing more than a glorified online brochure.
That’s what all too many websites are. I’ve always wanted this site to provide more to the reading community—especially in times like these.
I initially explored the idea of making more of my existing catalog available here on the site. The problem, though, is that I can’t make content freely available to you here, as well as in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program. Amazon requires that all Kindle Unlimited titles be exclusive to the Amazon platform (in electronic form). I am bound by the terms of that contract, and I intend to abide by it.
So I had another idea…
The Edward Trimnell Books Online Books Project
I’ve therefore decided to start making some titles available here on the site exclusively—or in advance of bookstore publication. These will not be serials, technically speaking, but I’ll be posting them a chapter at a time, as I write them. And you’ll be able to read them here for free.
I have several titles in mind for the first round of online books. These will be a mixture of fiction and nonfiction. The fiction books will span several of the genres that I usually write in (thriller, horror, mystery). I also have some short stories planned.
And for those of you who have enjoyed all the news commentaries over these past few weeks, fear not: At least one of the titles I have in the works concerns politics. But whereas the daily blog posts typically deal with ephemeral headlines, the upcoming book one will dig deeper and involve more theory.
The plan is to serialize several diverse titles at once, so that at least one of them will be something you’ll be interested in reading. As I say on ETB’s About page , I don’t expect anyone to like everything posted on this site, but everyone should be able to find at least something that they like. That’s one of the advantages of a variety format.
How can you support the Online Books Project?
No, this isn’t a prelude to asking you for money.
Some sites that provide free content immediately turn around and panhandle you at every turn—usually via requests to support them on Patreon.
I don’t necessarily have a philosophical opposition to Patreon (or similar crowdfunding intermediaries, like Kickstarter). I’ll probably put up a Patreon page eventually, for readers who would like to voluntarily contribute. But if I’m going to make that an upfront requirement, I had might as well just put everything on Amazon first. A Patreon paywall is still a paywall.
But I still have bills to pay, just like everyone else. Can free content work with paying the bills? In part, yes.
One of the really cool things about online content is that “free to the reader/viewer” need not mean “unpaid to the creator/publisher”. This principle goes all the way back to the origins of the Internet-as-we-know-it, in the 1990s.
In the beginning, at least, the Online Books Project will be sponsored the old-fashioned way: through the placement of a few unobtrusive ads.
Some of these ads will be for my books on Amazon. If you really like what you read here for free, consider purchasing a book of mine that isn’t part of the Online Books Project. You may also want to purchase an edited, proofread version of a book that appears online first. But that’s totally up to you.
The Online Books Project will also be sponsored (sparingly) by banner ads and affiliate links to third-party products. I don’t fundamentally have any difficulty with the idea of supporting free content with third-party ads. That’s what newspapers, magazines, and television have done since time immemorial.
Online ads have (not without some justification) gotten a bad rap in recent years. That’s because some sites have totally overdone the concept.
The online versions of The Independent and USA Today come to mind here. These sites are littered with dropdown full-screen ads, autoplay video ads, and many more extremely intrusive forms of advertising.
Edward Trimnell Books is old-school all the way. Just like I hate social media (why would anyone want to bother with Snapchat or TikTok?), I’m also allergic to newfangled forms of online advertising. I keep the ads here low-key, like they were up till about 2003.
Those are my basic ideas about the Online Books Project.
I’ll be posting new content and new chapters daily, more or less, so check back often!