Releasing a book as a free download isn't newsworthy in and of itself. It was, once upon a time, especially when that book had the backing of a major publisher. Publishers are often characterised as being conservative about the net, so it was surprising when it happened. These days, many writers have convinced their publishers to dip their toes in the water on this, and it's simply not notable when it happens again.Why free ebooks should be part of the plot for writers
Which is not to say that free downloads have no role when it comes to promotion, publicity and marketing. Their main effect is to magnify any good feeling your book has generated, by making it simple for people who love the book to get it under the nose of their social circle.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.