Does the availability of free books hurt writers now or in the future?
Konrath says no. That's out of the way.
Writers can't indefinitely write for free. Sad but true all you people out there who think 99 cents is too much to spend. Hobbyists can, though. Let me quote that reader again "I never read a book priced under $3 that was worth it" or whatever she said.
At some point it will become, or already is, obvious you have to pay people for their labor. Otherwise they stop working and then where are you? Sure you can have 600 free books on your reader. All the classics have been written and Charles Dickens isn't going to spring to life because digital needs more content. You ravenously, greedily, accumulate all these free books and somehow manage to read them. Then what. You need free books. They could be lousy they could be great. All that's important is that they cost nothing. A consumer decision made by someone who probably has an expensive cellphone plan thing whatever they're called. No clue, I don't have a cellphone, iPod, blender, set of knives in an adorable Ukamebeki wood block, closet full of shoes I won't wear out or a fancy car.
I understand that some people are worried about this but I'm not. If someone wants free more than the thought and life I put into my work, I don't want them to download my book. The world is made up of all types of people. Even a niche audience can be large if you're talking about reaching the world. There is truth to the saying "you get what you pay for".
Morning for test photography, afternoon for skyhigh temps and schvitzing around the house going Oy Oy Oy.