First, go to Smashwords.com and click on the link to their Summer Sale on the left side. You can get a lot of quality stuff for cheap or free. I put about half my ebooks on this sale, most for free, a few for 50% off (the collections and longer works). I viewed it as advertising and a bit of the "try it, if you like it, come back for more, this time with money". And I was good with that. Most people, as far as I can tell, downloaded one or two or three ebooks for free; that was about what I expected. I'm losing money up front, but they'll be back for more.
Then there were the few--the very few--people who literally downloaded everything I have on Smashwords that was being offered for free.
Yes, what I'm doing is essentially advertising and those who download everything I put up for free aren't breaking any rules and I don't know if any of them went back and paid for something they already downloaded or bought all my collections or purchases something else, but it feels like those few people took advantage of the system.
This won't stop me from offering other books for free in the future--as advertising or as a thank you to loyal readers.
I'm an independent author. I do this partly for my own amusement, partly for the money. The money's not great; I can't live on it. I have a "real" job outside of writing. It sucks. Most of my ebooks are short and cheap, $0.99, because those are the ones that sell. I get thirty five cents for those ebooks when they sell on Amazon; I get forty cents for those ebooks when they sell on BN.com. I get seventy eight cents for those books when they sell on Smashwords.com. It's small money that adds up slowly over time. (It's also why I like to promote Smashwords over Amazon and BN.)
Support your local Internet independent author. Don't take what you don't read or want or need. If you get a bunch of free ebooks, show some love and buy the newest one that's being offered for a buck. Those dimes and nickels add up, especially to the author who might be using it to buy groceries for the week, or to afford classes at college, or to pay the rent, or to be able to get the car repaired one more time.
(I still haven't figured out why one person downloaded five free copies of Too Intimate Sibs. Anyone with insight on this, please leave me a message.)