I've given away a few of my books over the years, though it is rare that I do this anymore. It's not merely because I'm strapped for cash and can't afford the cost (though that is one major factor), but because too often people have taken advantage of my charity. I'm talking about those who ask for free books, only to sell them!
I'm not talking about unsolicited freebies sent to reviewers, but copies I have occasionally given away to readers upon request.
This topic first came up about two years ago, when I found a book I had given to someone listed for sale on Amazon. I won't go into detail about which book, or who decided to seek a profit off of my generous gift, but it wasn't the last time. It seems there have been quite a few people over the years who have asked for free books, only to hock them online.
If you are given a special gift (such as a signed book from an impoverished author), it is very disrespectful to turn around and try to make a profit from it. Regifting is one thing, and I encourage that, but selling it? That is low class, and pretty insulting.
This is why I am reluctant to give away books. What's the point when the people receiving them are just going to treat them like a new revenue stream? In many cases, they aren't even reading the "free" books—that might damage them, and thereby lessen their sticker price, oh no!
I'm sure some of you are shouting right now, about how someone can do whatever they want with a gift, and that may be true, legally if not morally. But I'm telling you right now that I will not waste my generosity on those who aren't really interested in reading my work, but just want something to sell. I can't afford it.
For those of you who have purchased books from me; don't sweat it. You can do whatever you want with your copies, since you actually paid for them. However, for those of you who have been given free copies, show some class and don't try to make a fast buck.