• FREE: The Future of a Radical Price

  • By: Chris Anderson
  • Narrated by: Chris Anderson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-02-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (4,108 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author heralds the future of business in Free. In his revolutionary best seller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that, in many instances, businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them. Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company's survival. The costs associated with the growing online economy are trending toward zero at an incredible rate. Never in the course of human history have the primary inputs to an industrial economy fallen in price so fast and for so long.
Just think that in 1961 a single transistor cost $10; now Intel's latest chip has two billion transistors and sells for $300 (or 0.000015 cents per transistor - effectively too cheap to price). The traditional economics of scarcity just don't apply to bandwidth, processing power, and hard-drive storage. Yet this is just one engine behind the new Free, a reality that goes beyond a marketing gimmick or a cross-subsidy.
Anderson also points to the growth of the reputation economy; explains different models for unleashing the power of Free; and shows how to compete when your competitors are giving away what you're trying to sell.
In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how this revolutionary price can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.
©2009 Chris Anderson (P)2009 Hyperion
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Critic Reviews

"As in Anderson's previous book, the thought-provoking material is matched by a delivery that is nothing short of scintillating." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12


I loved "Free" for 3 reasons:

Reason 1: Anderson is a terrific storyteller. Free is one of those books where you learn some, think some, and have fun during the ride. The main argument for Free is that the economics of digital goods pushes the price of these goods to their marginal cost of production, which in the case of digital copies is close enough to zero to set that price at free. Further, the price of free enables all sorts of businesses and opportunities, providing opportunities for new business models, profits and services.

Reason 2: The growth of free has all sorts of implications for higher education. Nowadays a lifelong learner can receive a wonderful education from Web content ranging from TED talks to lectues on iTunesU and YouTube/EDU. Educational content is now free. This forces us in higher education to rethink our own value propositions and where we exist in a digital economy built around abundance of quality curricular and lecture content as opposed the scarcity model that traditional lecturing/courses is built upon.

Reason 3: Anderson made the unabridged audio edition of Free available for free on Audible and some other outlets. This price encouraged a bunch of us at Dartmouth to read the book together, generated some great discussions and debate. Having the book freely available to our community proved to be an excellent argument for the library overcoming the scarcity of digital books to have them available to our community. I admire Anderson to no end for putting his money where his mouth is and offering the digital copy at the price of production. I'd gladly pay more in Educause conference fees to listen Anderson keynote one of our conferences.

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21 of 21 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Darran on 06-02-10

What a great book!

Being honest, we all know that listening to an economic book is never really supposed to be a lot of fun. However, this book changed that. The thoughts, theories and conclusions drawn by this book are fascinating. It was more like listening to a friend bringing you up to speed on the latest technological achievement than it was like listening to an economics lecture. This book makes sense in an easy to understand way. The part about how Google has now become bigger than all 3 American auto manufacturers, and doing so by giving away so much stuff for free, was mind opening. I would recommend this book to those who have ANY interest in business or anyone who wants to understand what is going on around them today. This has nothing to do with market indicators, stocks, foreclosures, etc... It just talks about how to be successful by being open to new ideas and new ways to approach old ideas. Including, giving away some part of your product or business for free to encourage use or purchase of another part of your product or business for a fee. I would venture to say that this is probably one of my favorite "money" books ever. I continue to encourage every person I know, in business and just friends, to read/listen to this book. I have listened to it 3 times now and continue to glean new ideas and concepts from it.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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