- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books (July 7 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401322905
- ISBN-13: 978-1401322908
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #357,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Free: The Future of a Radical Price Hardcover – Jul 7 2009
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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.
Top customer reviews
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This is great stuff and everybody who wants to understand the world and the basics of economics, it's a must.
What I discovered in the book was an insightful history of the concept of free and how that linked to today's trends. He makes a good argument for free being inevitable in the Internet when what one is "selling" is content rather than physical products because the marginal cost soon drops to near zero. He calls this too cheap to meter and if the volume is up then it makes sense.
What he now does that really captured my interest and proved tremendously helpful is give a number of specific instances where free can be applied and detailed examples of those applications. He explains that "buy one and get the second one free" is not really free and people understand it is just a 50% sale. He provides the rationale for there being two markets - free and everything else.
He provides a lot of specific examples and recommendations and I found myself making notes as I went along.
For instance, I'm writing this commentary and I'm doing it for free. On the other hand he introduces the concept of reputation, sense of helping, etc. that Wikipedia and other forms of "free" web content can rely on. He makes you think.
For a fascinating and well-written read or as a beginner's introduction to web marketing, I can certainly recommend this book.
This is where Anderson has something to say, because, as a direct consequence of that, familiar business models for pixel-related businesses no longer work. I would, however, not call this a rush to 'FREE', but simply an attempt of generating a revenue stream by other means. What about the new business models proposed? Cross-Subsidies, Three-Party Markets and even versions of the much touted Freemium model have been around for a long time, nothing really new there. How, for example, are Jimmy Wales' yearly appeals for donations to support Wikipedia any different from what public TV of the old, pre-digital world, has done for decades?
The author has a tendency to ramble and bounce around various, often unrelated, subjects while frequently coming close to contradicting his own premise for FREE. As to all the gushing about 'near zero distribution costs' in the digital world, it's fine for Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, to state in his endorsement, that "the cost of distribution is relentlessly driving to zero", (towards free) but would he say the same thing about the cost of running his company and producing content? If everyone was a 'freeloader', all these neat models would rapidly collapse together with the companies that embraced them. "FREE" is the mirage of the untried 'Google generation'.
Chris Anderson argues that the price of any online good or service will ultimately fall to the marginal cost of production (nearly free), and through the use of real-world examples shows that the best way to combat free is being there first.
Highlight: Stepping through different freemium business models that exist as a jumping-off point for thinking about freemium models in your own business
Low-light: Felt like a 100 page book stretched out to fill 250 pages.
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