Will you pay for a “free” book?

In a controversial new book — FREE, Chris Anderson (editor Wired Magazine) says that natural forces are pushing us toward making all intellectual content free to the consumer.  Wow – what does that mean for newspapers, magazines, websites, authors and musicians.  He says that musicians better get used to having people download their songs for free – yes, they will continue to make money, but it will be from live events and merchandise – not the songs themselves.  For authors it will be the same thing – give away the content and make money with events and merchandise. 

Now what would you expect the price to be on his book – Free?  Well, yes it is free – kinda. 


I’ve created a link where you can find the entire book – absolutely free.  Just open and read.  And if you are currently marketing intellectual content in any way, you need to read this book.  Here’s your link:  Free book

If you prefer the audio, here’s a link for the free audio:   Free audio  At least listen to the sample clip under the book graphic.  It will give you a great overview of the book’s contents. 

But here’s the irony.  While the book is titled Free and is readily available in either print or audio format, it is also available from Amazon as a traditional hardcover book.  Free on Amazon It sells for a pricey $26.99 and is currently at #191, which means thousands of them are selling. 

Does it surprise you that a book can be “free” and still be selling briskly at $26.99.  Welcome to the new world of marketing, where everything is changing and some things seem counterintuitive.  If you are a musician, author, journalist, pastor or teacher, you need to recognize the changing world of “selling.”  There is a new term that captures where business is going – “conversational marketing.” 

There’s even a website called TheFreeSite.com.   How are you prepared to generate income if what you are providing is expected for free?

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4 Responses to “Will you pay for a “free” book?”

  1. Eric S. Mueller Says:

    I downloaded the free Kindle version of “Free” to read on my iPhone. I haven’t started reading it yet. I was happy to hear that the book would be available for free as expecting people to buy it would be seriously inconsistent with the message.

    I’m hesitant to believe future predictions about technology and the market. Most are horribly incorrect (where is my flying car, anyway?) I appreciate that the Internet has provided easy access to and distribution of information. I also appreciate that much of it is free. I have doubts that all intellectual property will be given away for free though. I’d like to be wrong, but I don’t see it coming.

  2. just make money Says:

    Then what is the meaning of free?, Thanks a lot for the nice post.

  3. Bill Melater Says:

    I have not downloaded my free ebook or mp3 of this title yet however my knee-jerk intuition is that the author’s point is being made by the sales of his own book. If you offer your product for free in a format that has a lesser long term percieved value (as in collectibility) as a way to promote the actual product itself (the actual book, yourself – the artist or your CD, concert tickets, t-shirts, books, etc) then you’ve successfully used the lesser format to sell other formats of your work. For example, I’m almost certain that no one will be auctioning off mp3s or ebooks in the future. They are mainly used as a convienience and only have a short term value or convienience value at best. No matter how digital the world becomes people will keep printing or buying books, burning or buying CDs, and purchasing other products in association with the author, artist, etc. I’m not a fan of paying full price for an ebook which is why I would never buy a kindle. I want something of substance to hold. If it were offered free along with the book or at a low cost in comparison with the book then possibly. The main idea here is using the free content to market yourself. Everybody loves free stuff and some of those people will be willing to pay when they decide your work is of value to them.

  4. Cialis Says:

    hIL57X Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

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