Two weeks of constant travel are nearly at an end (I'm in Madison, WI, after having been to Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, New York, Denver and one day in San Francisco in between). That means that it's almost time to start writing the next book!
I'm going to be blogging a lot more about FREE this summer, as the research phase hits its stride. But in the meantime, here are three canapés to whet your appetite.
1) My BookExpo speech on FREE got covered by the New York Times today. In an article titled Waxing Philosophical, Booksellers Face the Digital (hey, don't blame me if that's not grammatical), Motoko Rich wrote:
Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired magazine who made his own splash last year with his book “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More,” returned to the convention to talk about the possibility of giving away online his next book — which he fittingly intends to title “Free” — to readers who were willing to read it with advertisements interspersed throughout its pages. (He still intends to sell the book traditionally to readers who’d rather get their text without the ads.)
Although that's correct, as far as it goes, I actually discussed a lot of more interesting possibilities in applying the free business model to books. (Important note: aside from a free downloadable audiobook, we haven't decided which if any we'll use on FREE. These were just examples of potential paths.)
2) AppScout had a more comprehensive report on the session, which is worth reading for the big picture. The description of the audiobook strategy is spot on:
Anderson also announced that he is going to offer the audio version of his next book for free to customers who buy the print copy. "The audio book as an MP3 costs me nothing to manufacture, copy, and distribute. In every physical book there's going to be a code, which you can then go to the Web site, type in the code and download the audio book for free. Why should you have to buy a book twice? Why punish your best customers?"
3) Speaking of free, I'm delighted to report that my UK publisher, Random House, has put huge chunks of The Long Tail online for free. Every microchunk extract is "standards-compliant and fully optimized with metadata to ensure that we are super-Google-and-other-search-engine-friendly," they tell me. Whatever that means, I'm sure it's good. Check it out and many thanks, Random House!