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June 04, 2007



i'd really want to read the book when i read the first one paragraph in your article.It's very attractive!(i must say)^^
i love travelling!i want to be anywhere that i've never been to.i don't care where it is,only i never been to. i'll be intereted and happy!
But i don't like read books on my computer screen,i love real books made up of papers

Dave Hyndman


Great to read the MP3 strategy. For The Long Tail, which I loved, I bought a copy on Audible because audiobooks fit my current mass transit commute-heavy schedule. But because The Long Tail also struck me as an important "keeper" I bought hardcopy as well. I have now done this for a number of books including both of Gladwell's, David Allen's books ... maybe 10-15 books in total.

While you're foregoing some potential revenue from (strange?) people like me, you're approach is the fair one. As a fan and a customer, I appreciate it.


B Mullen

What brings you to Madison? Are you speaking somewhere?


excellent, good to know it's available online, look forward to the new one, also i enjoy some of th eother book recommendations

Tamara Paton

I attended Chris' talks at BookExpo and blogged about his message:

I work for a book publisher and "free" has become a hot topic around here, particularly within our digital group. Few people around here support widespread distribution of free digital copies, but I'm optimistic about free's ability to grow our paying audience.

Looking forward to continuing the discussion.



It all makes sense to me, charge for the physical and give away the digital – sort of.

Firstly, you have the argument for possession. It’s a physical asset with a monetary value driven by the cost of production, distribution and presentation – along with the consumers’ willingness to pay.

Second you have the argument for exposure. A novel idea attracts headlines, which in turn gather eyeballs which on balance leads to sales. It’s the fact you’re doing it, and on one else is (not quite true, I know) which give the idea its lilt.

Third, you have the argument for experimentation. Those who wouldn’t or couldn’t buy the book but happy to consume the content through other means, thus not depriving you of sales but increasing your fan base, right?

All three are debatable and, of course, extracting the ‘net effect’ is the key. For whom? The publisher, I guess. This is why I say ‘sort of’ – should the entire business go down this route, wouldn’t advances (investment) offered by publishers decline?

In addition, if we all went down this route, wouldn’t the novelty of the concept be eroded - and with it the exposure-effect that it once gained? This would remove positive effects of point two – or at least dilute them considerably.

Finally, if a secondary market based around ‘free’ takes hold, surely that would put pressure on the primary (physical) market as cross-elasticity’s kick in. Reducing the margin on books overall – and forgoing potential value as perceived by the consumer.

All these points are, admittedly, jumping the gun – but I like throwing them out there to stress the caution of your bold working title. Your last book was truly inspirational to me, but its title – with its focus on demand, not supply - let you down, even you admitted that.

It’s really important you get this ‘working title’ nailed down correctly. My earlier post to the original idea stressed the importance of cross-subsidisation. To this, add supply chain too. The UK’s NHS service is free at the point of delivery – it sure ain’t free though.

Many thanks and best of luck with this project, and thanks for blogging your way to a sequel too – its gonna be a trip!

Will Page, Economist


I'm very much looking forward to it.

I think it would be interesting (if you don't mind the suggestion) to devote some space in the book exploring the idea of "Time" being another form of currency that factors into the economics of "free". After all, many people are willing to pay more for things that save time -- since we only have a limited amount of time in our lifespan (a scarcity model in its own right).

There are so many examples of things in the digital age -- and throughout history -- that have become faster and faster to achieve (buying things, making things, perfecting things, finding things, etc.). It would seem that the idea that Time = Money is now more pertinent than ever.

So, I think it could be successfully argued that as things become faster to achieve, they really become more less expensive in our own perception (i.e. value). It's why we are willing to pay more money in exchange for a service that will save time (such as DVRs, express mail, high-speed internet, etc.). The faster things become -- and they're always getting faster -- the more value we perceive it has.

Just a random thought...

Dave Bruno


I've been a fan ever since you showed up to the Audio Publishers Association Conference last year around BEA time and ruffled a few feathers. Your participation helped that panel be one of the more enjoyable in recent memory. The Long Tail nicely fits the audio industry.

FREE seems to me a more complex fit, and I have to wonder why audio and digital are the formats for which free applies so easily? I'm asking you from a position of some experience - my audio publishing company has spent the last four years offering a very healthy amount of free digital audiobooks to anyone with the interest and bandwidth to download them. But our free audio anticipates what we consider a likely scenario - audio and digital becoming premium content, not loss-leading/following value added.

Digital certainly opens many possibilities. Free is one of them. And not.

Dave Bruno, christianaudio


What do you think of publishing through Lulu.com or Amazon's BookSurge?

PS. thanks for "Long Tail"


have you guys heard about yada yada mobile? they are offering free cell phone service -- up to $100 per month, for viewing targeted ads. i just signed up at yadayadamobile.com. looks promising.

Steven Slomkowski

It's certainly interesting and encouraging for me to read this kind of dialogue. As our patent pending methodology matures, I've been proposing hybrid solutions for almost 5 years now. In fact two of our flagship books arrive this fall with all the bells and whistles we've been defining since enhancedbooks.com started. The conversion of our current interface to Web 2.0 type methodologies will provide the next usability jump we seek, support the new titles and clearly demonstrate the feasibility of combining rich media and static media.

I'm certain being the first to deploy such approaches well ahead of the curve was like screaming into the wind. But the direction of the wind has changed in our favor and connected organic and digital content will be desirable and profitable.


Speaking of connected organic and digital content, it would be nice to SEARCH a book online for that quote that stood out to you and you have since lost it or forgotten. Especially as time goes by and you want to go back to the book...

wow power leveling

Wow what a fantatsic thing to do plus all you girls have dug deep is there anything good I can add i ask myself I'm going to jolly well try!!
ok here goes!!

three things I want to achieve in life
1. Have a job that gives me a buzz not just pays the bills like working with under previledged kids or helping out an animal welfare place
2. Vist a different place every year!!
3. Get a completly flat stomach!!!

About DH

He loves all my bits i hate..... my bum and wobbly tummy!!maple story powerleveling
He's my soul mate i'd be lost without him
He'd do anything for anyone, a quality that sumetimes makes me go ahhhhh and sometime makes me go come on we've on our way to so and so!!
I could go on forever and ever

Kelli Standish

I've been DEVOURING your Long Tail book, and thought you'd be interested in this little tidbit from the LibreDigital project:

"Our solution enables you to add digital book browsing to any website anywhere in the world, to automatically reflow titles into oversized print, to remonetize your backlist without carrying inventory using print-on-demand, to convert titles into a variety of digital formats using only one vendor, and to sell custom titles pulling content from several different books, truly leveraging the "long tail" of your content library." http://www.libredigital.com/about/

Since you were at Book Expo, you probably already know about these guys. But if not, I thought it very interesting how clearly they subscribe to the digital print-on-demand model you talk about in The Long Tail.

Kelli Standish

Francis Hamit


At the risk of stating the obvious, if you place ads in your "free" copy, it's not really free. Advertisers pay for exposure or "eyeballs". They also count on repetition to crack through to consciousness, which is why you see television ads so many times, to the point where even the good ones make you reach for the "mute" button.

When it comes to text, which is a solitary communication between the author and the reader, extraneous material such as ads only distract. The most effective ads in magazines are those which are laid out and displayed as separate items and stand on their own in terms of interest. Back in the day, computer magazines like "Byte" were purchased for the ads more than the editorial material.

And, when reading online, most of us have our own built in Tivo and ignore the ads...which means, like television, those ads get repeated again and again, trying to get our attention.

One of the virtues of electronic text is that it can run as long as it needs to be. No one edits for length to save money on printing. That's also one of the disabilties since print publications have trained the reader to expect short, punchy tidbits of information rather than long and thoughful analysis.

My own experiments with electronic publishing have taught me that, if the reader has no interest, they won't download something even for free. Time spent reading is also a cost. You have to make it worth their while.

Conversely, if they need the information or think the narrative will entertain and amuse, they will spend whatever they need to. Since I raised the price on my Francis Hamit Electronic Publishing titles to $4.99 each, sales have gone up, not down. That's counterintuitive, but it seems that part of the perception of value for electronic text is a higher price point. "Free" may attract no readers at all. Literally, you may not be able to give it away.


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This blog post, about Google Street View, might interest you, it references your pkanned second book:



I want to adhere to most of viewpoints from Francis Hamit. BUT I recognise that all predictions failed in the digital era.
So, go ahead and free your books with advertising. And try to get a well design ads, not invasive, not disturbing readers, maybe using the Google model (linking them with the adjacent text).
Try, try, try... and travel.(to Mexico if its possible, jeje)


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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!