NEW YORK -- Charles Bock's "Beautiful Children," a bestselling debut novel about characters adrift in Las Vegas, is the latest book to be offered free online.
Starting today, Bock's novel can be downloaded from www.beautifulchildren.net/read. The free electronic edition will also be available from leading retailers.
"I want people to read the book," Bock said in a statement issued Tuesday by the Random House Publishing Group. "If that means giving it away for free online, great."
Publishers have worried about Internet piracy and whether online text could hurt traditional sales. But lately the trend has been to make more books available on the Internet and hope that interest in all formats will be increased.
"We're willing to sacrifice a few sales in the expectation that a wider sampling opportunity will build consumer awareness and more business for our booksellers and our authors," said Stuart Applebaum, spokesman for Random House.