Skip to content

Kindness or Narcissism? Giving Away Free Copies of Your Books

December 1, 2020
Is it charitable, or is it narcissism? (image via Wikimedia)

A famous political figure author made news last week by donating 105,000 digital copies of his book to high school students and teachers in his home city.

This might be a cool idea, giving digital copies of his book away. It saves paper. It means students wouldn’t have to spend money on his book.

Then again, maybe high school students don’t give a flip about his book. Maybe the school district could have used copies of other books that are in high demand or in the curriculum.

May be the author thinks too highly of himself if he thinks high school students really want to read his book. They might like an autographed copy, but digital?

Since the author involved is a major political figure, most people will form their opinions based on their personal politics rather than the author’s actions.

I’m wondering, when a famous (or even struggling) author gives away copies of his/her books, is it a form of genuine giving or is it an act of narcissism? I actually don’t know, so in the excerpt below, I’ve removed the names. If you had no political bias, what would you think?

And if you have no political bias, what do you think?


High school students and teachers at City Public Schools received an email Monday morning that didn’t tell them exactly who would be at their virtual assembly that afternoon but gave some strong hints: The speaker had “strong ties to city,” “millions of Twitter followers” and “made history multiple times throughout their career.”

Hours later, those who tuned in to the live-streamed assembly were greeted by famous author, who surprised districts’ 105,000 high schoolers and thousands of teachers with free digital copies of his new book, “Title.”

Read the unedited version and more at Obama, in surprise appearance, gives 105,000 CPS students free digital copies of ‘A Promised Land’ .


What do you think? Is giving away digital copies of your book really an act of giving? Or is it narcissism? Would you give away 105,000 copies of your book (if you could afford it)? How many free copies of your books could you afford to give away?

One Comment
  1. I think it was a pretty nice gesture. Giving the books as digital saved a small forest, and since of those 105,000 students only 5,000 at best, would probably read it (cause a book is longer than 140 characters), none of the paper went to waste.
    Also, if only 5000 of these books will get read, it means Obama may have only lost a tiny percentage of paying customers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: