The selection is limited, as is the time when they’ll be available. And online means online, not downloadable or printable.
The free books, available to read in their entirety, will only be available for a month, and they won’t allow users to download them to eBook readers like the Kindle. Also, the print function will be disabled.
But … if there’s a title on their list that you’d like to read online, then you can do that and then decide if you want to buy it .. without having to go to your bookstore to thumb through it.
Believe it or not, HarperCollins is allowing you to read the books for free as a way to increase sales. As an example of how this has worked before, they cite the novel Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
The children’s novel “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was available free three years ago on Funbrain.com but the physical book flew off store shelves: it spent 42 weeks on the New York Times Children’s Chapter Books bestseller list.
Another way HarperCollins is hoping to increase sales is by letting you have a sneak peek at new books. Some books, like Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews and Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson will have excerpts posted two weeks before they go on sale in bookstores.
Just another way publishers are trying to embrace the eworld without totally losing control of copyrights and profits.