There’s a great article in the SF Chronicle by Chris Cadelago about giving away books as a way to promote and get started – it is called Take My Book, It’s Free.
I wrote about this promotional tactic last year in my marketing book — interviewed some of the fellows mentioned — so it is great to see the phenomenon building.
At our publishing house, I see releasing episode podcasts (for free through PodioBooks.com) as a neat way of getting promotional value and customer feedback during the recording process. If the author is involved in narrating the book, and this is done on a home-scale basis taking many weeks, each episode can be released as completed. That’s what we are doing with one author right now. When all chapters are finished, it takes little to re-purpose the episodes into a full audio book for sale as an MP3 download or made-on-demand DVD/CD
For some authors, narrating their own book may not work. But for those with an “inner ham” eager and able to perform, why not put that energy to good use in promoting and creating another way to sell the content?