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Free: The Future of a Radical Price

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  7,459 ratings  ·  534 reviews
The online economy offers challenges to traditional businesses as well as incredible opportunities. Chris Anderson makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can succeed best by giving away more than they charge for. Known as "Freemium," this combination of free and paid is emerging as one of the most powerful digital business models. In Free, Chris Anders ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Hyperion (first published 2009)
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Goodreads says that I'm "finished with Free", but I disagree. I love Free, and while listening to this audiobook (which was free), I was surprised by how much Free I'd taken advantage of in my life without even giving it a thought.

Chris Anderson says that my generation inherently understands (and to a point, expects) Free, and I'm proof of that. Hotmail, Yahoo!, Google, oh my! The internet is like the Free capital of the universe. I've never given a single thought to how these companies could g
Otis Chandler
A business classic that everyone should read. Explains 20th century and 21st century economics from a big picture perspective. The basic thesis is that while in the physical world (atoms), products have cost and thus companies can afford to give away small amounts of free samples (5%), or give away cheaper loss-leader related products in order to maintain profits. In the digital world things are reversed as products have little to no marginal cost and companies can afford to give away 95% of the ...more
Ben Babcock
At the beginning of Free, Chris Anderson presents a generalized dichotomy toward "Free." Some—mostly the older users—are suspicious of Free and insist they will have to pay somewhere down the line. Many younger users, on the other hand, think that Free, on the Internet at least, is a truism. Anderson says his goal is to convince us that neither camp has it completely right and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

This is an attitude that we can apply to the Internet in general. As newspap
Nov 16, 2013 Kelley rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Business analysts, product developers, people who like to point & laugh at new economy b.s.
In Free: The Future of a Radical Price Anderson insists that the way to profit online is to give products away. Of course, the intent of such a proclamation is to startle people unfamiliar with online dynamics -- which makes you wonder what tiny portion of his audience is actually startled. Even people from established industries such as newspapers and network television already know that their products only *appeared* to be free or nearly free to the consuming public. Their product certainly di ...more
Disclaimer: I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

Free is a pretty comprehensive overview of the free business model. Anderson first outlines the history of free, the economic and psychological reasons behind free, the reason that free can exist in today's digital world, and the ways it differs from so-called "20th century free."

Anderson's points are well made, complete, and interesting to read. However, I do believe that he ignores and/or understates the full implications o
I read this book primarily because it was, well, free, and because Chris Anderson is a well known author due to The Long Tail (which I never read but heard a lot about). In the introduction he describes how as he researched the book he encountered two different reactions to it - the younger crowd (under-30 I think it was) thought that the ideas were basically self-evident while the older crowd thought that there was no such thing as free and that there is no way you could build a business model ...more
John Britto
FREE! is a good book to read, rather then saying good book to read it’s better to read and get to know what the author,Anderson, want’s to say about the word FREE!!! and What FREE means and is it really FREE!!!. It was quite interesting to know about how the business modules have emerged in marketing the products with the trick FREE, as the author says “Free always has a hidden cost for free is a trick”. Simply to say Chris anderson brought out the process of money making business behind the wor ...more
Pascal Lapointe
Ça me fascine de voir comment les idées les plus simplistes peuvent être transformées en des livres qui ont les apparences d’une recherche rigoureuse et abordant tous les aspects du problème, alors qu’ils passent 240 pages à éluder le principal aspect du problème. L’idée, ici : la gratuité. Chris Anderson, mieux connu pour une idée simple, The Long Tail, à partir de laquelle il a tissé une longue traîne de conférences et de revenus pour lui-même, tente la même chose avec Free, mais sa démonstrat ...more
The great clash documented in this book is between the atom economy, which is in the business of selling stuff, such as food, clothing, cars, CDs and the byte economy, which is the business of selling knowledge, image, access and convenience through products that have no physical presence.

As a late-stage baby boomer myself, I have had my own difficulties wrapping my brain around ways of thinking that come naturally to the generation that has never known a non-digital world. How to proceed with
Katie Wilkie
Chris Anderson has written a book all about the phenomenon of "Free"--paying nothing for something--and how it is changing the way we do business in the digital age.

Consumers in the past have been skeptical of Free--you've probably heard it in the form of "there's no such thing as a free lunch." But Anderson argues that the digital age has brought with it a "bits economy" in which there actually can be such thing as Free--with no strings attached. Many products in the digital age cost little or
We've heard that information wants to be free. We're all for it as long as we are on the receiving rather than the giving end. The value of Chris Anderson's work is in showing us exactly how "free" can work. It turns out it's not a new idea: think radio and television in the days of antennas. Most Google services are free (paid for by ads). On-line textbooks can be free by selling add-ons such as the right to print chapters, study guides, audio summaries of chapters, downloads to electronic book ...more
Gratis è uno dei manuali fondamentali per muoversi nell'economia del prossimo decennio e va letto assolutamente. Perché il tema del libro non riguarda le strategie di prezzo (insomma una questione per addetti di marketing), ma le leggi economiche: che nella cosiddetta economia digitale sono quelle di sempre... o quasi, salvo qualche dettaglio. In poche parole: il valore non si crea e non si distrugge, si sposta. Si sposta dalle aree dove c'è abbondanza (e quindi i beni di cui abbiamo abbondante ...more
This was not exactly what I expected it to be, but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. This is a look back at how "free" has played into so many markets over the years and where it may take us from here. Not really a "how to" book, but more of a history of the free price point.

There is good coverage of the different meanings of "free", including buy-one-get-one-free, free with purchase, free basic versions that have paid premium versions, and many others. There is great information about how o
This book examines the free economy, focusing on the changes to business and society caused by the ease and availability of free digital services and products. For a topic that might seem like it might be dry, it's explored in a very interesting way in this book.

The book starts by discussing free products and services that have been around for a long time, such as "buy one get one free" deals at stores. The author discusses the psychology of receiving things for free -- a topic that is fascinati
Posted on my book blog.

I bought this book hoping it would help me understand a little better the economics of the internet world. There's no doubt that the internet was built around the concept of Free, but like with every other topic I'm interested in, I missed reading a systematic study about what (if anything) had changed, and how. This book does a decent job at it, but it wasn't perfect.

It gives a historical account of Free, the different meanings it can have, and how people react to it. It
Jeremy Dooley
Hey, Chris Anderson, the stuff in your house "wants to be free" too, but I'm betting you lock your door so people (we call them thieves, no matter how many of them there are) don't take your stuff.

This book starts off well, and delves into some interesting anecdotal items, detailing some innovations in business models that are intriguing and worthy of exploration.

However, in the last hour, Chris climbs onto his ideological soapbox. Like all elites, he feels he can preach at us about how all inte
I listened to Chris Anderson narrate this book for free (he made the MP3s available on his website), which made my commutes fly by. And I guess I'm proving him right by writing this review, but I can't help notice that I'm not buying a copy of his book now, whereas I otherwise would have. But Anderson's larger point is that digital goods inexorably fall to free, so it's time to get over it and use it to your advantage. As in The Long Tail, he does a good job of laying out the phenomena, explaini ...more
Javier Celaya
A su favor es que es un libro entretenido, que se lee muy rápidamente, y que pone encima de la mesa un necesario debate sobre cómo las empresas deben empezar a redefinir sus modelos de negocio ante la inmensidad de contenidos libres y gratuitos que están disponibles en la Red.

En su contra, creo que es un libro con algunas contradicciones sorprendentes y demasiadas simplificaciones a la hora de argumentar y defender el modelo de gratuidad de los contenidos en Internet. Estas contradicciones hace
I'm almost finished with the book (note: the free Kindle version seems to have a lot of typographical errors) and have highlighted some of the thought-provoking quotes. FREE: The Future of a Radical Price It's a bit stodgy and slow to read -- however, the author writes about behavorial economics as it relates to "free" and I think that big business would find this book compelling.
Only thirty-two of the Top 100 companies today make things you can hold, from aerospace and motor vehicles to chemica
Doesn't seem to say anything I haven't already read on Wikipedia and various news stories/blog posts. This book doesn't contain any special knowledge from the author and appears to be completely sourced from the internet. The free research part part goes along with his thesis I suppose, but it also means that this book is something anybody who spends a lot of time online could have produced today, given an editor and 40 hours a week to work on it.

If you like reading blogs and wished you could re
This is definitely the best book I have read in a LONG time! I didn't want it to end!

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past two decades, you are well aware that the business models of several different industries have gone through a dramatic change. Chris goes into detail and presents it in a very interesting way. Not just the ones we have heard the most about, like how music piracy has decimated the music labels income or how Craigslist has taken over the newspaper's classified ad
A nice coda to The Long Tail. Chris Anderson is a journalist, publisher, and someone who can write about economics for a public audience.

I happen to drink the Kool-Aide connected to information abundance and how so much of the existing information distribution business is being disrupted by digital media and I think Anderson makes a very strong very accessible case that this is happening.

He's more accessible than Benkler. Even more so that Shirky or Weinberger, but he does so without sacrificing
Kateryna Krivovyaz
This book opened my eyes to freemium and its benefits. Of course, the book is very intense until the middle and then it becomes a little slow. But anyway it's full of interesting fact and a very straight forward logic.
Now I can proudly say that I read free books, watch free movies and listen to free music and if you feel the same way you should definitely read this book and find out why it is beneficial for everyone when something is free. Long live Freemium!!!
د.أمجد الجنباز
إن كنت تتساءل لماذا البحث في الجوجل مجاني
ولماذا الفيس بك مجاني
ولماذا مشهادة الفيديوهات في اليوتيوب مجانية
ولماذا الويكيبيديا مجانية
أو أي خدمة أخرى مجانية

وكنت تتساءل عن مصدر ربحهم، وهل هذه الطريقة ناجحة أم لا
فما عليك إلا قراءة هذا الكتاب
الذي سيعطيك القصة كاملة من مؤلف خبير في المشاريع الريادية
الكتاب موجود بشكل صوتي في موقع أوديبل، وبشكل مجاني أيض
Nura Yusof
I'm not even half way through and already I think the book's too long.

As with The Long Tail, he's taken what would have been sufficient as an article or blog post and expanded it ad nauseam into a book!

Fine. He makes a good case for free. But here's the thing. By making things "free", it's making consumers wonder, "Okay, what's the catch?". Coz' seriously, no one wants to give up anything for free. Something's got to give.

The problem here is consumers are left to figure out what. And some times
A great read about the economics of free. It covers the history of free in the "atom" realm and how it is different in the "digital" realm where zero marginal cost reigns and resource are abundant and often "too cheap to meter". It has plenty of examples of the different strategies companies have used to be successful and make a profit even when giving away products for free or competing with free products. There is even a catalog in the back listing all the free business models the author disco ...more
Христо Блажев
Крис Андерсън описва как “Безплатното” променя света

“Безплатното не е сребърен куршум. Подаряването само по себе си няма да те направи богат. Трябва да помислиш творчески как да превърнеш репутацията и вниманието, които получаваш от безплатното, в пари. Всеки човек и всеки проект ще изисква различен отговор на това предизвикателство, а понякога нещата изобщо няма да се получат. Това е като всичко друго в живота - загадка е само защо хората обвиняват безпла
I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Economics, particularly the Economics of the Internet. Anderson does an amazing job describing the evolution of payment and profit, and how so many legacy systems of payment are dying. If you have ever wondered how Google can be so profitable, or why the RIAA and broadcast television hate the Internet, Anderson answers these questions. Don't let the fact that Anderson's book is available as a FREE download from ITunes dissuade you, I'd have gladly ...more
Peter Lockhart
This book is eye popping in that the stuff he presents and the way he presents it is first class. He has done his homework and saying it's food for thought is an understatment. I have not stopped thinking about what he has just said to me because it has turned conventional business thinking on its head.

It's not often you finish a book and it resonates and leaves you thinking. This book did that for me. Top marks and recommended to anyone in business. There is a fortune to be made giving stuff aw
Todd Stockslager
Abby Hoffman's one-man pirate promotion didn't catch on forty years ago, but Anderson suggests he might have been on to something. Anderson is Editor in Chief of Wired magazine, where I first read the outline of this idea in an article about a year or so ago.

OK, that is not quite the thesis of Free, but it makes an interesting opener to suck you in--which IS the essence of one of Anderson's business models for Free:

1. Direct Cross-subsidies: give away one thing to sell another (such as giving aw
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Chris Anderson was named in April 2007 to the "Time 100," the newsmagazine's list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world. He is Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, a position he took in 2001, and he has led the magazine to six National Magazine Award nominations, winning the prestigious top prize for General Excellence in 2005 and 2007. He is the aut ...more
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“Google is not a media company by any traditional definition of the word, but it makes its billions from the media business model.” 0 likes
“But every effort to make this work in practice at any scale failed, largely because the social bonds that police such mutual aid tend to fray when the size of the group exceeds 150 (termed the “Dunbar number”—the empirically observed limit at which the members of a human community can maintain strong links with one another).” 0 likes
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