Synopses & Reviews
In his New York Times bestseller, The Long Tail
magazine's editor in chief provided a glimpse of the business future that's already here. And now, in Free
, he does it again.
As the cost of doing business online drops closer and closer to zero, giving things away is not just becoming an option — it's inevitable. But if the product is free, where's the revenue? In Free, Anderson breaks down the priceless economy into six broad categories, demonstrating how to make money in each:
- Freemium: Free Web software and services, and some content, to users of the basic version. (Think Flickr and the $25-a-year Flickr Pro.)
- Advertising: Free content, services, and software to an audience that advertisers will pay to reach.
- Cross-subsidies: Give away any product that entices customers to pay for something else. Example: It's a free second-gen Wii But only if you buy the deluxe version of Rock Band.
- Zero marginal cost: Anything that can be distributed without an appreciable cost to anyone, like online music.
- Labor exchange: Performing tasks to gain access to free sites and services.
- Gift economy: From Freecycle (free secondhand goods) to Wikipedia, money isn't the only motivator.
In Free, Anderson uses the fundamentals of economics, a long view of the history of business, analysis of today's rapidly changing landscape, and fascinating predictions to create a book that, like The Long Tail, will be essential reading in the years to come.
In hardcover, The Long Tail had lengthy runs on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Book Sense, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists, and has sold200,000 copies.
Like The Long Tail, Free began as an article in Wired — in this case, as a controversial cover story. Anderson has also been discussing the book's progress on his widely read blog thelongtail.com.
As editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, Chris Anderson is one of America's most sought-after commentators on tech trends.
"In the digital marketplace, the most effective price is no price at all, argues Anderson (The Long Tail). He illustrates how savvy businesses are raking it in with indirect routes from product to revenue with such models as cross-subsidies (giving away a DVR to sell cable service) and freemiums (offering Flickr for free while selling the superior FlickrPro to serious users). New media models have allowed successes like Obama's campaign 'billboards' on Xbox Live, Webkinz dolls and Radiohead's name-your-own-price experiment with its latest album. A generational and global shift is at play those below 30 won't pay for information, knowing it will be available somewhere for free, and in China, piracy accounts for about 95% of music consumption to the delight of artists and labels, who profit off free publicity through concerts and merchandising. Anderson provides a thorough overview of the history of pricing and commerce, the 'mental transaction costs' that differentiate zero and any other price into two entirely different markets, the psychology of digital piracy and the open-source war between Microsoft and Linux. As in Anderson's previous book, the thought-provoking material is matched by a delivery that is nothing short of scintillating. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Anderson's timing couldn't be better. FREE arrives as whole swaths of the economy are having to contend with consumers finding ways--some illegal, many not--to go Free."--Boston Sunday Globe
"Chris Anderson's FREE unpacks a paradox of the online marketplace--people making money charging nothing. What was once just a marketing gimmick has morphed into the basis of a trillion-dollar economy."--Newsweek
"I'd put Anderson and his work on par with Malcolm Gladwell and Clayton M. Christensen as one of the more important pieces of business philosophy published in the emerging global, digital era."--Alan T. Saracevic, San Francisco Chronicle
Following his "New York Times" bestseller, "The Long Tail, Free" is another look at the radical new way business is done. . . . [It] shows a new economic model that goes way beyond the old concepts of free with purchase' or loss leaders'.--Will Baillett.
The New York Times bestselling author heralds the future of business in Free.
In his revolutionary bestseller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them. Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company's survival.
The costs associated with the growing online economy are trending toward zero at an incredible rate. Never in the course of human history have the primary inputs to an industrial economy fallen in price so fast and for so long. Just think that in 1961, a single transistor cost $10; now Intel's latest chip has two billion transistors and sells for $300 (or 0.000015 cents per transistor--effectively too cheap to price). The traditional economics of scarcity just don't apply to bandwidth, processing power, and hard-drive storage.
Yet this is just one engine behind the new Free, a reality that goes beyond a marketing gimmick or a cross-subsidy. Anderson also points to the growth of the reputation economy; explains different models for unleashing the power of Free; and shows how to compete when your competitors are giving away what you're trying to sell.
In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how this revolutionary price can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.
The online economy offers challenges to traditional businesses as well as incredible opportunities. Chris Anderson makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can succeed best by giving away more than they charge for. Known as "Freemium," this combination of free and paid is emerging as one of the most powerful digital business models. In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how it can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike. In the twenty-first century, Free is more than just a promotional gimmick: It's a business strategy that is essential to a company's successful future. Download the audiobook of Free for free! Details inside the book.
About the Author
Chris Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, a position he's held since 2001. In 2002 and 2004, he led the magazine to a 2002 National Magazine Awards nomination for General Excellence. He has worked at The Economist, where he served as U.S. Business Editor. His career began at the two premier science journals, Science and Nature, where he served in several editorial capacities. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from George Washington University and studied Quantum Mechanics and Science Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.