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May 20, 2007


Crosbie Fitch

FREE: No strings attached.

FREE: The economics of liberty.

FREE: As in freedom, not as in beer.

FREE: Work for money, copy for nothing.

FREE: Artistic freedom & cultural liberty.

FREE: The intolerable friction of royalties.

FREE: The price of proliferation.

In order that you can continue this list, each title understands that the advantage of free culture lies not in the zero price of copies, but in the public's liberty to make copies or derivatives without needing to seek permission first.


I like #3 the best. One more suggestion:

"Charging Peter to Pay Paul"

Its a reference to the fact that most of these business models have a backhanded way of making money. Most tactics involve a service that is not paid for by the end-users, but rather a third party.

James Taylor

#1 for me

How much will the book cost? :-)


Option number two "FREE: How $0.00 changed the world" is heads above the other options.

There's something magical to seeing $0.00 on the title.

Josh Bernoff

Most important words on the cover "Author of the Long Tail"

Second most important: "by Chris Anderson"

Third: "Free"

Fourth: the subtitle. (In other words, doesn't matter that much.)

That said, #3 is the most attractive. It even matches the subtitle of your last book!

Paul Watson

#3 is definitely the best overall, although I'd prefer
"FREE: How companies make money by charging nothing"

#2 packs a punch, but by specifying dollars, could sound too US-centric to a global audience (in the same way that "FREE: How £0.00 changed the world" would sound specifically British to American ears)


I like #4 - broad, without being overly so.

I would bet (real) money that your publisher picks and insists upon #3.

I'm looking forward to it, regardless of the subtitle.


#3 seems by far the grabbiest.


I like #3. Works for rabid fans who know your work - yet simple enough to draw in new readers. Its intruiging and makes you want to learn more. Want some help setting up a quick poll to ask all your readers?


well they say free is the most powerful word in the language so congrats on the idea! congrats if i could buy futures on your book right now i would! ps without knowing more i vote for #3 for impact


#3 is the best and I have a nose for hits!


FREE: The power of zero.

Or, #2.

And it's OK for other countries that $ sign is to be used there - at least zero dollars changed the world, not zero Russian roubles.


Each title suggests a different book, with a different focus. 1, 2, & 5 are too historical, while 4 is too econ-centric. I agree with most commenters that #3 is the most immediately catchy, the most Seth Godin-esque, if you will. It directly communicates the radical idea at the heart of the book without obviating the need to read it.

And it continues the general "Big Idea" flavor of The Long Tail. Keep your brand consistent, whenever possible.


I really like the idea of a book about how things that can be translated into a digital medium (i.e - music, magazines, video, software) are becoming more and more free. We live, for better or worse, in a time when the old profit centers of the big hit movie or record are gone. Gone gone gone. And that's OKAY!!! Music production isn't stopping. In fact, and this is why I became such a huge fan of the long tail in the first place, the marketplace is encouraging MORE diversity.

But if you listen to the record companies and the movie houses, this is a terrible and bad thing and must be discouraged.

Yes, there is money being lost. But the ship has sailed. Music is ALREADY free. Movies aren't far behind. The big production houses remind one more and more of a whiney, fat child, protesting that the supply of cake to which it has become accustomed, has gone from 10 per day to only 2. The reality is that piracy is here to stay. Even if you don't like it, and don't agree with it, you can't deny the reality of that!

We're in an exciting time! A time when MORE choice is available to us, not less! A time when we're growing more and more free to find our own level of intelligence in the shows we watch, the music we listen to, and the movies and stories we think best reflect our own lives. Even as little as fifteen years ago, I was STARVED for movies that spoke to me... for music that sang to me... Now I have data coming out my eyeballs!

One of the arguments against freedom is that we don't value that which we don't pay for... often used by psychiatrists to justify the monetary transaction at the heart of their profession. Well, I think we can safely say, "that's a load of hooey." I value music I've downloaded just as much as the music I've paid for. And I've downloaded as much junk as masterpieces.

The time has come for the big record companies and movie houses to die off and make way for the next generation. Smaller, more agile, more FREE to make entertainment reflective of the individual... or more directed at a smaller group. Behold, the Guerilla Artist!!!


FREE: doesn't mean you can't find a better deal! :)




"FREE: The economics of abundance and the marketplace without money"

What about just "Free: The marketplace without money"?

Or maybe

"Free: The pot of gold at the end of The Long Tail"


Hi Chris,

Very interesting concept book.

However, "Free" is not the economic end point for consumers - there is also subsidized participation where the consumer becomes a paid agent of the "seller" who profits by marketing access to the fruits of the collective and individual behavior of the "buyers" to third parties.


I like #3 as well


Also, "Freekonmics" seems like it would be a pretty safe bet.

Henri Weijo

I kinda liked that one post title "Give away the music and sell the show" you had a while back. Something along those lines, maybe?
But of those five, number three is the best.

Paul Morriss

How about:
FREE: Why this book may be the last one you pay for.

Ted Guggenheim

#3 just works. It makes the point, but leaves the discussion open.


"Steal This Book"(kidding)? There's got to be a good way to use "Free Radical" in the title, Mr Former Science Journalist!

William Hertling

I prefer a variation of #3:

3a) FREE: How companies get rich by charging nothing in an age of abundance


3b) FREE: How companies get rich in an age of abundance


Free: How Nothing Is More Profitable

Mark Harrison

Well, I (obviously) haven't read the book, but were I writing an ad headline (and hence looking to maximise sales), I'd change one word in:


FREE: How to get rich by charging nothing

Of course, I've always fancied:

FREE: As in beer, not as in freedom

... but that's a different argument for another day :-)

Scott Ellington

FREE: Why $0.00 isn't sacred.

Joseph DeSetto

Why not work off of your previous success?

Free : Why the Future of Business is Selling More for Less

Good luck, and congrats on landing the deal.


FREE: Something for Nothing

This is probably worth a chapter somewhere:
Free and Tax Free: How Open Source Technology Starves Needy Governments!
Free and Tax Free: How Open Source Saves Governments Millions!


Great news - can't wait

How about

"FREE : Getting Everything for Nothing"


"FREE : The Long Tail of Zero"

Alain Pierrot

#3 seems best.

And keep a list of "The subtitles you were spared!"
For instance:
"FREE : Consumer: nought, Company: game, set and match"


Maybe it's just my tacky Euro sensibilities, but the words "Get Rich" sound schlocky.


Vote Yes on #3 in 2008!

Scott Ellington

When government stops supporting culture, can commerce pick up the slack?
Will Amazon do more or less business if consumer critiques of purchased products
result if Amazon offers accruing reviewer rebates repaid forward?
If the buyer is the one most likely to stray, why do we persist in branding product?

FREE: Why $0.00 isn't sacred, anymore

Byron Bennett

Hi, Chris! Congratulations on the new book. How about:

FREE: The economics of $0 > $1
FREE: When $0 > $1
FREE: How companies get rich $0 at a time
FREE: Giving it away to win it all
FREE: How companies get rich by giving away the store
FREE: Giving away the store and winning big
FREE: The new green

But, I did like your #5 too ;)
Best wishes,



Personally, I'm concerned that the 'overall' concept could be picked apart my exposing cross subsidisation within the media model.

Sure, price is falling. It's lost its share of wallett (demand) and there is no rival aspect to conumption (supply).

My own work and explained this in greater detail, but that does not imply that the word FREE is correct.

When you sign up to a cell phone talk package and the handset in thrown in for free, you know Nokia got paid further upstream.

But when you sign up to an ISP and you access all that media content for free, you NEED to know there is a disconnect as compensation is not taking place.

By the time you get your book published, that disconnet might have been closed with new licensing schemes. It could be free at the front end, but value will be captured.

Another example - MTV built its business model around FREE music. But if you were to claim that as evidence, you would have shot yourself in the foot.

MTV have faced legal battles since day one and are now gradually coming to the table to accept that music should be values and copyright holders should be compensated.

The same thing is happening with Myspace - a knee jerk reaction would suggest you could say that its FREE too, except there's a multimillion pound ad model and its sharing none of the spoils.

Indeed, compare the Myspace success story with the Yahoo moderate story - Yahoo went legal first, traction second. Myspace was traction first, legal possibly second. People might smirk at Yahoo lagging behind, but at least they did it legit.

My point - Its easy to make money out of FREE by not doing it legit.

Chris, cross-subsidisation is rampant, more so that you might initally think. Perhaps Chapter One should begin with the story of RCA who entered the music industry NOT to sell music (as it was FREE on the radio) but to sell Radio Muisc Boxes.

The final chapter could finish with Apple, who do put a price on music, but who's iPod is dominated by content that was FREE in some form (or at least involved no marginal cost to upload).

Look forward to the next blog and its great to be able to post on here again.

Will Page


No 3 old boy, No 3!


if google search results are any guide, a mashup of #s 3 & 5 will capture the largest mindshare ("rich" and "price" are attention-getting)


Looks like you have enough comment, but here is mine anyway.

FREE: Nothing is really free.


The comments to this entry are closed.


The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!