27 thoughts on “Book sales go up with free content?

  1. The good people over at Baen Books (http://baen.com/library/) also like the concept. They have a free library where their authors can post entire books in a variety of formats. Their sales seem to be doing fairly well as well.

    I’ve read books there for free, and bought entire series of the ones that I’ve liked. Good concept.

  2. The good people over at Baen Books (http://baen.com/library/) also like the concept. They have a free library where their authors can post entire books in a variety of formats. Their sales seem to be doing fairly well as well.

    I’ve read books there for free, and bought entire series of the ones that I’ve liked. Good concept.

  3. I am a firm believer in the fact that all this stuff MPAA/RIAA and the publishing industry is talking about is horseshit. If you have good content, people tend to buy it. If I read a good book online for free and like it, I am more likely to buy it for my collection or gift it to someone I think will be able to use it. If on the other hand, I had to buy it in the first place without actually using it, chances are dim. Same applies for movies and music. To ascertain that my theory is not a load of nonsense, how many people knew of musicians by listening to radio? That was free music, nowadays it has changed with people using the Internet more often. So, things like Youtube and bittorrent need to be encouraged not discouraged in the newage. Anyone remember any of the old movie studios/record labels? They are all gone since they refused to change. History always repeats itself. Stop this copyright nonsense & let’s explore the new mediums.

  4. I am a firm believer in the fact that all this stuff MPAA/RIAA and the publishing industry is talking about is horseshit. If you have good content, people tend to buy it. If I read a good book online for free and like it, I am more likely to buy it for my collection or gift it to someone I think will be able to use it. If on the other hand, I had to buy it in the first place without actually using it, chances are dim. Same applies for movies and music. To ascertain that my theory is not a load of nonsense, how many people knew of musicians by listening to radio? That was free music, nowadays it has changed with people using the Internet more often. So, things like Youtube and bittorrent need to be encouraged not discouraged in the newage. Anyone remember any of the old movie studios/record labels? They are all gone since they refused to change. History always repeats itself. Stop this copyright nonsense & let’s explore the new mediums.

  5. Robert,

    More people buy a book because of word-of-mouth than any other reason. But people can’t talk about your book until they’ve had an experience with it. Therefore, it is necessary to create a base of customer evangelists whose recommendations can start the process. I think giving it away is an excellent way to quickly achieve a critical mass of recommenders.

    I retained the audio rights to my book (PyroMarketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life) so I could use it promotionally. I have been streaming it and giving it via free MP3 downloads from my site http://www.pyromarketing.com since my book published in September 2005. I used to require people to register before they could download it, but beginning next Wednesday I will waive that requirement too.

    Without a control group I can’t say how much this has increased sales, but I do have anecdotal evidence. It led to some publicity last Christmas when several bloggers suggested the freebie as a gift and linked to my site. It also leads to sales even among those who got the free copy. People often email me to say, “I got as far as chapter three before I went to the store and bought a printed copy for myself and another for a friend.”

    Spread the fire. GS

  6. Robert,

    More people buy a book because of word-of-mouth than any other reason. But people can’t talk about your book until they’ve had an experience with it. Therefore, it is necessary to create a base of customer evangelists whose recommendations can start the process. I think giving it away is an excellent way to quickly achieve a critical mass of recommenders.

    I retained the audio rights to my book (PyroMarketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life) so I could use it promotionally. I have been streaming it and giving it via free MP3 downloads from my site http://www.pyromarketing.com since my book published in September 2005. I used to require people to register before they could download it, but beginning next Wednesday I will waive that requirement too.

    Without a control group I can’t say how much this has increased sales, but I do have anecdotal evidence. It led to some publicity last Christmas when several bloggers suggested the freebie as a gift and linked to my site. It also leads to sales even among those who got the free copy. People often email me to say, “I got as far as chapter three before I went to the store and bought a printed copy for myself and another for a friend.”

    Spread the fire. GS

  7. Hi Robert.

    When you distribute your content for free on the Internet you create a community of your admirers (of course, assuming they like what you have written). If I remember, you were publishing one chapter or one portion at a time. By continuously publishing your chapters online for free and by continuously publicizing the exercise you exposed many people to your immensely worth-reading content. So eventually if I want to read the entire book I have three options: 1) read your book online — inconvenient to most people, 2) take out the print-out — might be expensive and cumbersome, 3) get the book — most convenient and economic way of reading the book.

    It boils down to building a vibrant community by giving something genuine, for free if possible. Once you’ve got yourself a loyal community, I think this can work for any product, not just books. Yes, in case of promoting books through giving away the chapters for free on your blog, you already have an audience that is inclined towards reading.

  8. Hi Robert.

    When you distribute your content for free on the Internet you create a community of your admirers (of course, assuming they like what you have written). If I remember, you were publishing one chapter or one portion at a time. By continuously publishing your chapters online for free and by continuously publicizing the exercise you exposed many people to your immensely worth-reading content. So eventually if I want to read the entire book I have three options: 1) read your book online — inconvenient to most people, 2) take out the print-out — might be expensive and cumbersome, 3) get the book — most convenient and economic way of reading the book.

    It boils down to building a vibrant community by giving something genuine, for free if possible. Once you’ve got yourself a loyal community, I think this can work for any product, not just books. Yes, in case of promoting books through giving away the chapters for free on your blog, you already have an audience that is inclined towards reading.

  9. Hi Robert. Thanks for noting my post. Your book was indeed an excellent example of how to successfully implement an open online model.

    Thanks as well for giving me the “blogging fever”. It’s been almost 2 years now since my first post and I’m more hooked today than ever before. Had it not been for the gentle nudging from you and Shel I don’t think I ever would have started a blog — many thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

    P.S. — Have you ever thought about how many other people you’ve brought into the blogosphere? I’ll bet it’s a significant number. Congrats!

  10. Hi Robert. Thanks for noting my post. Your book was indeed an excellent example of how to successfully implement an open online model.

    Thanks as well for giving me the “blogging fever”. It’s been almost 2 years now since my first post and I’m more hooked today than ever before. Had it not been for the gentle nudging from you and Shel I don’t think I ever would have started a blog — many thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

    P.S. — Have you ever thought about how many other people you’ve brought into the blogosphere? I’ll bet it’s a significant number. Congrats!

  11. Dannie, you are right. I totally agree there is a huge difference between a paper book and an electronic version. The medium actually changes the way you read, the way you understand and remember things. For instance, I am unable to concentrate when reading something in electronic form. I just skim through text, use the search function, etc. On the other hand, a paper book implies concentration, attention, devotion.

  12. Dannie, you are right. I totally agree there is a huge difference between a paper book and an electronic version. The medium actually changes the way you read, the way you understand and remember things. For instance, I am unable to concentrate when reading something in electronic form. I just skim through text, use the search function, etc. On the other hand, a paper book implies concentration, attention, devotion.

  13. In my not so humble opinion I think when one is talking about electronic publishing and paper publishing, we are not talking about the same product.

    I do not curl up in my bed with my Mac – although I love it too – and read something in electronic format, however one of those special nurturing activities of mine does involve that very activity of tucking myself under a down comforter with a good book.

    Somehow we are all saying the same thing, it is just that some established business processes (read, paradigms) can not deal with the simple reality of multiple products from one creation. Capitalism does have some major flaws built-in.

  14. In my not so humble opinion I think when one is talking about electronic publishing and paper publishing, we are not talking about the same product.

    I do not curl up in my bed with my Mac – although I love it too – and read something in electronic format, however one of those special nurturing activities of mine does involve that very activity of tucking myself under a down comforter with a good book.

    Somehow we are all saying the same thing, it is just that some established business processes (read, paradigms) can not deal with the simple reality of multiple products from one creation. Capitalism does have some major flaws built-in.

  15. Almost forgot to tell you that I am developing a class on PR and networking for the new College of Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University and I have assigned your book as one of the readings…

  16. Almost forgot to tell you that I am developing a class on PR and networking for the new College of Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University and I have assigned your book as one of the readings…

  17. Interestingly enough, I wrote a blog post last week about something similar. I bought a few books lately (yours included) due to exposure to your blog writing (not of the book content itself). Aaron Wall of SEOBook speculated in his ebook that 99% of people bought his book because of his blog. Giving away free content (not necessarily of your book), or at least producing it, is something that exposes people to your voice and lets them decide whether they want to read more of you offline.

    Several weeks ago, Karel Baloun announced his ebook Inside Facebook (http://www.fbbook.com) which was available for a short time (for free). I’m interested to know what kind of effect the “then-free-now-paid” model had on sales.

    http://www.techipedia.com/2006/11/30/do-bloggers-breed-authors/
    In my post, I mention that it’s hard to squeeze in blog-reading and book-reading, and I still think that’s true. I emphasize a different mindset when reading a book (dedicated) versus reading a blog (multitasked) and suggest uploading online copies where possible. (Even so, I think that getting into the book-reading mindset is more relaxing, though much tougher in my fast-paced day.)

    I also realize that for some ebooks that I’ve purchased, I’d much rather have a printed copy. Some authors don’t actually have such a thing, and it ends up being a costly Kinkos trip.

  18. Interestingly enough, I wrote a blog post last week about something similar. I bought a few books lately (yours included) due to exposure to your blog writing (not of the book content itself). Aaron Wall of SEOBook speculated in his ebook that 99% of people bought his book because of his blog. Giving away free content (not necessarily of your book), or at least producing it, is something that exposes people to your voice and lets them decide whether they want to read more of you offline.

    Several weeks ago, Karel Baloun announced his ebook Inside Facebook (http://www.fbbook.com) which was available for a short time (for free). I’m interested to know what kind of effect the “then-free-now-paid” model had on sales.

    http://www.techipedia.com/2006/11/30/do-bloggers-breed-authors/
    In my post, I mention that it’s hard to squeeze in blog-reading and book-reading, and I still think that’s true. I emphasize a different mindset when reading a book (dedicated) versus reading a blog (multitasked) and suggest uploading online copies where possible. (Even so, I think that getting into the book-reading mindset is more relaxing, though much tougher in my fast-paced day.)

    I also realize that for some ebooks that I’ve purchased, I’d much rather have a printed copy. Some authors don’t actually have such a thing, and it ends up being a costly Kinkos trip.

  19. This concept was talked about a few years ago with Seth Godin’s Purple Cow book as well. I don’t know if he still is, but at the time he was a very large advocate of giving his book content away for free online.

  20. This concept was talked about a few years ago with Seth Godin’s Purple Cow book as well. I don’t know if he still is, but at the time he was a very large advocate of giving his book content away for free online.

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