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July 06, 2009



I am based in India, and Scribd doesn't allow me to download due to geographical restrictions. Any hope for non US folks soon to download the pdf?

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Allen MacCannell

Let's remember that this Free book concept really means "free for Americans resident in the US at the time they try to download".

I am an American expat and this site tells me that "due to agreements with our publishers, anyone outside the USA cannot download the free book".

Hello? That is a major limitation. :-)

Manoj Ranaweera

Chris, I keep hearing about your book FREE from everywhere, and wonder whether you would like to share it with our growing community of businesses and consumers at https://www.edocr.com

Just as a reference: these days, I hardly get a chance to read books, but one of the last ones to read was the Long Trail, which was thought provoking and something we speak about at edocr.com - because we are the Long Tail for documents - we talk about sweating existing document inventories.

So if its FREE, chapter wise or the whole book, much appreciate if you consider uploading it to our platform.

Many thanks
Manoj (Founder & CEO)

Seth Woodworth

BTW, your .zip file contains a '__MACOS' hidden folder. You may wish to clean the file and re-upload.

Karl Kasca

Perhaps FREE: The Future of a Radical Price is the "Steal This Book" of the 2000's?

https://snipurl.com/ndwrj, or


I'm about half way through the audio version and I'm loving it so far. I never would have picked up this book if it wasn't free.


Interestingly enough, I can't even read it online on scribd cause it's US restricted :( I'm based in Spain and can't read it...

Too bad...

Dirk Berndsen

Limiting supposedly "free" downloads to the US alone leaves out more than two thirds of the world's current online population. Not much of a free giveaway - and quite annoying to be honest...

Chris Anderson


As you know this is the way the publishing industry works, with geographic exclusives. It is my publishers' decision, not mine. When the German edition comes out, perhaps the German publisher will make it available free there. Again, this is their decision, not mine. Unless an author decides to self publish and give up on distribution in physical book stores, this is unavoidable. I'm sure you understand.



Two things:
1) After having listened to the (FREE) audiobook, I've noticed segments of the book in Wired Magazine. Is this an intentional way to give your Wired subscribers "free" access to the book (for subscribers) and do you plan to continue printing portions of the book until the whole thing can be found within the pages of the magazine?

2) One of the concepts of the book is (and I'm paraphrasing) that everything that exists in the digital world should be free; which is to say that anything that does not have atoms should be free. I am a web designer, and our industry has seen cheap labor cropping up in Pakistan, India, Romania and elsewhere slashing costs and asking only a fraction of what we can reasonably charge for our work (the problems, of course, including language barriers, time zone issues, and inferior quality). I have my own ideas and theories on this, but I'm interested in your take on how something digital that takes weeks if not months of work can be sold when there are free or close to free equivalents everywhere you look. In the same vein, you also said something in the book that isn't entirely accurate -- that the cost of putting a story online is zero. That doesn't take into account the cost of developing your site, building the design and application and making it functional. Certainly once it's done, it's set-it-and-forget-it, but I can't imagine Wired.com cost so little to build as to be a non-issue.

All told, it was great listening to the book and it's left me with a lot of ideas floating around in my head as I go about building up our business. So, thanks!

Dave Lucas

1. Hello - A lot of fuss over “FREE’ — well, I am writing a book about the decline of the newspaper industry. After contacting a few publishers who assured me no one would be interested in reading it, I decided to offer it FREE as a FREE PDF DOWNLOAD. It’s not finished yet, but my intention is to make this book as FREE as a book could ever possibly be. “If you paid for this document, you paid too much” is going to be prominently displayed on page one! I’ll announce when it’s ready on my blog, hopefully within the next 30 days.


Cheers from Brazil. Downloading the audio version!
Thanks for posting.

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Thanks Chris!

Carlo Felice Dalla Pasqua

I cannot read it on Scribd: "Due to our agreements with our publishing partners, the document you requested is only available to users located in the United States"

And unfortunately I live in Italy :(

Ciao :)


Hi. This post said the book is free, but someone has forgotten to say that it is true just to the USA people. I tried to get the book from Brazil and the site has returned me with a message that it is restricted just to the american ones.

Jack lake

Hy Chris,

I'm from Brazil and noticed that you pointed some references about some things that already happen here and I'll like to say that you made it proprelly - saying this 'cuz most of the times, everything people says about what happen here is just a "tiny not-ever-applicable" circumstance.

Also, I want to tell you that I'm gonna try to start getter people on my blog to talk about the idea of free and the concepts exposed on your book. I've already placed links to download the audiobook of yours and embed the scribd version of it - I hope you don't mind...

Just another thing that you may consider important - I'm starting the process to free-translate your book for two simple reasons:

1 - There are some places like "hyperion" that doesn't let us read the book - since our IP range define us as Brazil and we´re block
2 - As you can see by my poor english, there are less people that are able to listen to the free audiobook than read in english and read at computer isn't quite... how can I say... absorved by our country. Although you really could release a PDF version of it somewhere, right?

Tha's it. If there's anything you may not agree or wanna suggest or participate (that last part would be GREAT), fell free to say (or email - post a coment and so on)

That's all and "congrats" for the Excellent job!!!


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Thanks for a great audiobook!

Mr H

Free only to US? The Scribd link gives this error message: " Sorry, this content is geographically restricted. Due to our agreements with our publishing partners, the document you requested is only available to users located in the United States."

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ebook is the great source of information through quick means having greater scope .

Giovanni junker

I'm not sure if i can post this, but i found a link that can be downloaded worldwide, here it is:
I'm brazilian and i'm listening to the audiobook!
Thanks a lot Chris Andersen, it seems to be very interesting!

Chris Patmore

This is a great listen/read. I was intrigued by the part where you talk about free electricity in relation to nuclear power and yet, I'm only half way through the book, there is no mention of Nikola Tesla, who wanted to give all his inventions away for free, including free electricity and what would have been the equivalent of an international wireless internet. He was driven to poverty by people (Edison, Marconi, Westinghouse etc) who profited from his ideas for which we are still paying to this day. As I am sure you are aware Tesla's genius is yet to be matched and if he'd been allowed to realise his vision it would be a much better world we would be living in today, free from the use of carbon-based fuels. In an early edition of Wired Jon Katz posited that Thomas Paine should be "adopted as the patron saint of the age of information", in which case, surely Tesla should be deified in the world of Free.


Started reading about two week ago, wanted to continue but no go....

'Sorry, this content is geographically restricted'.

What's up with this type of 'free'? All readers are equal but some readers are more equal than others???

Ryck Marciniak


In Free you focused extensively on the concept of marginal cost and its impact on business models. There is no doubt that this economic principle plays a role in the transformation that we are seeing in the business world, in particular in the area of ‘bits and bytes’ products and services. Although you do not directly state it, you give the impression that downloading of music by many people, as an example, is linked to their recognition of marginal cost approaching zero, and this almost implies a justification for it. However, the avalanche of downloading that now occurs can more accurately be attributed to other economic principles and related factors.

You may have seen the news article focused on a report written by a teenager for Morgan Stanley entitled, “How Teenagers Consume Media” (https://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6703399.ece). In the London Times story, Matthew Robson, the report’s teenaged author, clearly identifies that downloading of music and purchasing of pirated DVDs is based simply on cost and the limited funds that teenagers have. My young niece, an avid downloader, corroborates Matthew’s view. Therefore, the economic principles that our youth have quickly grasped are that of economic scarcity, limited disposable income and opportunity cost, not of marginal costs approaching zero.

The second aspect to consider in attempts to understand the wave of downloading is the technology. We have developed the ability to easily rip, store, post and share songs around the globe, and this facility is now in the hands of anyone who owns a computer and has an Internet connection, or has access to these. This is comparable to having the keys to a locked home or the combination to a safe at the bank.

Next, there is the issue of risk and reward. We make decisions on a daily basis, almost unconsciously calculating rewards and their inherent risks. Downloaders are no different. Despite the current laws, it remains extremely difficult to find and convict downloaders. There have been some instances, including the recent case of the Boston University student’s judgment by a Federal court, awarding $675,000 to four record labels (https://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_tec_music_downloading), but still the chances of being caught are still quite slim, especially when you consider the privacy rights of individuals trumping the property rights of the RIAA. This reality is forcing artists to new business models, rather than having them willingly embrace them.

The combination of easy downloading with a great reward (music at virtually no cost) and limited downside risk certainly explains why people do it. I am not advocating that DRM be implemented or a move to enforce the law more strictly and prosecute wherever possible, but it will be interesting to view the transformation that is occurring, and will continue to occur, in a variety of business sectors. Although the main subject of your book was a price of free, a discussion of these contributing factors would have more completely flushed out your story on why things are becoming free and the shift to making money when some products are free.

Finally and from a more philosophical perspective, it is disheartening to see how one person can create a work of beauty—a song, a book, a movie—and they can almost instantaneously lose complete control of it, as it is passed around the world in its digital form. Although I am not an artist, I certainly feel for them, as their needs and wants are subordinated to the desires of the consumers of their art. They will certainly have other opportunities presented to them by leveraging our digital world, but they are being forced to adapt, rather than consciously making that choice.

Chris, I enjoyed Free, as I did The Long Tail, and I learned many new things. I look forward to what may be next from you.

Ryck Marciniak


Nothing is "free" there is always a cost - an opportunty-cost - in reading this book you are giving up your time - your most valuable commodity.

In my opinion this is a price worth paying!

Thanks Chris.

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Hi Chris,

I gave up on Audible and now use Audio Pod instead. Easier to use, no more hassles, everything is automated. Any chance that you will make your book available in that library?

R Steady

Chris - you are a fucking phony bullshitter. You tout that the book is downloadable for free when you go on a bunch of talk shows - wow - he buys into his own bullshit - and now that your book tour is over you play this bullshit game. hey fuck your book - not worth my time - you are a fucking pompous hypocrite.

what is with all the asskissers making comments on your site like you were jesus christ incarnate - what horseshit that is

R Steady

Christ you are a pompous prick. Your message of "thanks for participating in our free experiment" what phony patronizing horseshit that is. You never mentioned this crippled non-working site in your fucking radio promo book interviews on On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Your position then was that you put your money where your mouth is. That if you are talking about free you better back it up. Well now we know you are a fucking hypocrite asshole. You are part of the Conde Nast bullshit entity that has been foisting garbage on the American public for many years - and this free scam is just another series of your deceptive pompous bullshit. Go fuck yourself you dickwad New York piece of shit.

Darren Christie

Chris, it's amazing that you are doing this. I've been unemployed for over a year, nearly homeless, and wouldn't be able to get this any other way.
When I'm back earning I definitely aim to pay back this kind work by buying the book.


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I think what you're trying here is incredibly unique and I commend you.


It's totally stupid that the ebook is free in the US only. World frontiers don't mean squat anymore in the digital world. I would have thought that someone who writes a book like this one had understood that. So sad

Audible Audio Books

Thank tyou Cris, for this great book!


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QUESTION: How does a tall, bearded radical Muslim living in a cave in Afghanistan divert the most powerful Air Force in the history of mankind from the most guarded air space on the planet on the very day of the worst terrorist attack…an attack that will lead to the invasion of Iraq, a country that has nothing to do with the events of 9/11?

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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!