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May 20, 2007



#3 for me!


what, are you telling me it won't be free!!!


#3 for me too.

Brian - let's hope there'll be an online version we can read for free, a la 37Signals - Getting Real.


How about a variation on 2 - FREE: How nothing changed the world


I'd go for 4. I guess that "economics of abundance" is an important concept in your book.


is the contraction of 3, How to Get Rich by Charging Nothing, too obvious?

See also:

Something you said?

Miikka Leinonen

Companies have to learn how to give. And for someone trying to make a profit, the word "giving" sound insane.

We are throwing around ideas about this in our blog: www.strategyofgiving.com. (Sorry, currently only in finnish)

We think giving creates a motion in the reciever. If a company adopts a Strategy of Giving it will have to learn how to give. But more importantly it will have to learn how to redirect the motion it has created.


I like #3 because it sounds kind of paradoxical and thus grabs your attention.

Dane Cao

Definitely 2.
$0.00 is just too powerful a mark to be left out of the title.


I would also prefer a variation of 2#: How zero bucks changed the world

Shaye Horwitz

Call it what you like, as long as you mention Girl Genius. But then, I don't think you need me to tell you that!


If I come up with a better one, I want a free copy of "FREE":

* Abundance and the cost of not charging nothing. (hmm...double negative)
* Why the right price is the lowest
* Never be undersold again
* Why the 5 cent lemonade stand is a thing of the past

Incidentally, it may not be your line, but I'd be wary of describing free as "the ultimate price". It immediately reminded me of soldiers making "the ultimate sacrifice", which isn't exactly a desirable connection to draw for a business book.

David Koopmans

Depends on who your audience is:

Mass market - #3. Needs no explanation and makes your curious.

Your existing audience - #5. They are already half educated in your thinking so they will get the "radical price" concept. Also, they are probably people who think in terms of "future and past".

Graham Hill


I prefer #3.

I assume that you include the economics of multi-sided markets in your new tome. Recent research suggests that there may be scope for actually paying customers to become involved in such markets, even if they don't actually buy anything.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

Tommy Weir

Reminds me of the old Yippee's (oh dear, my roots are showing...) slogan

It's free because it's yours.

Nice to interconnect it with the idea of the social...

Jeff Atwood

#3 by a mile. The others aren't even close..

Jeremy Zawodny

Congrats, Chris!

I kinda like #3 myself.

Tommy Weir

Actually... You might find this relevant.


From Abbie Hoffman one of the Yippee's founders


Oh that was a laugh looking back at all that. The followers have a website now...


What newspaper had the recent headline: "the Hippies were right, green power, organic food, computers are cool"...

Tony Leach

How about "FREE: How nothing changed the world"?


Ok with the title .... but the price will be 0$ too ?


Number 3 will sell more copies, but number 5 is a nicer title (from a writerly point of view) :)

Mark Murphy

You're probably already aware of his work, but Mike Masnick over at Techdirt has been doing an excellent series of articles on this very topic. Here's the recap/summary.

Colm Ryan

I like number 3 too. Maybe "get rich" could be changed to "thrive" or some other synonym if that is the sticking point.

Best of luck with your new book!


How about "Free changes everything"

Clarence Fisher

I like #3 the best as well. It is so completely the opposite of the huge numbers that are usually thrown around in the press that it makes a vast point all on its own.

Paul Jones

"The Powers of Zero" is close. Or "Profit from Zero"

BTW when doing carwash fundraisers with my son's Odyssey of the Mind group, we found that if we set no fixed price for the wash that people would voluntarily give more $$$$ and we raised a nice amount. The wash could have been free, but people gladly paid once they had good service -- and the kids were motivated to do a better job.


You must make at least some copies of it free, for coherence sake.

The reason why I don't like each of your suggested title:

1. I'm assuming your book isn't about just a price, but an openness, the ability to quote, try, re-use; take Wired, with the free on-line edition: I can send a like to a friend, or blog it and not have to bother about whether it will be accessible; the price makes this possible, but so does the universality of a URL. Charging it will reduce the impact, but not kill the idea---hence free isn't just about the price.

2. Some people do not use dollars. I know all Americans are xenophobic bullies, so you don't give a dime, but the biggest impact of free is to allow people to communicate without having to cope with the cripple, medieval American banking system. Free is neither zero dollars nor zero yen, euros, pounds or liras: it's zero nothing.

3. Disintermediation and personal workers are probably one of the biggest coming elements of the re-organisation of economic sectors; mentioning "companies" is missing this point---but I would like "How entrepreneurs get rich by charging nothing" as it would shift the accent on two aspects: you need to have a innovative idea, and to dedicate yourself to make it happen.

4. Great for a theoretical, scholarly, economic science version of the book---but I'd really be crying from my academic ivory tower if you make money with such a subtitle. What would become of editorial-whoring and having bright red covers after that?

5. Uh? Forget about it: your book is not about time line, neither price---and if anything, free is a very acceptable idea, at least for those paying it.


I think #3 is the best one to match with your title..Since you can describe everything about how corporates are capturing the market in the initial stage of their establishment by not charging anything....
Breakdown Insurance

Luciano Alves de Oliveira (Brazil)

Hello Chris, in my opinion the 3rd option is great.


how about:
Milton Friedman was wrong: Maybe there are free lunches...

btw, when can i expect my free copy...

Andrew Timberlake

#3 does it for me.
The apparent contradiction grabs your attention making you want to know more.

Karim Bakhtiar

I prefer #3. It sounds like one of those books that promise to tell you the '10 secrets of ridiculously successful companies' (think In Search of Excellence, Good To Great etc).

#1,#4 and #5 make the book sound like an economics text-book on pricing theory. I think they'd be risky choices for a non-fiction book aimed at the mass-market.

Robert Williger


I think #3 is the one I like.



FREE: Why Free is the New Hotness

Okay, maybe not.

What about: FREE: How giving away the store works

Maurice Brand


Only #2 and #3 will sell extra copies for the title only :) Especially #3. Simple and makes a statement!

Ints Luters

Really get the geeks in a lather and call it "FREE: the idea of a price of 0.00 or, one step closer to a Star Trek future."


Got to be #3. Tells the value prop of the story outright and doesn't require you to stop and think.

Free copy for blog readers, right :-)?

Ed Brenegar

Free: The Story of ZERO

John Graff

To me it's a toss up between #3 and #4. If you're going to use the "abundance" theme heavily in the book, I like the idea of putting a stake down with "the economics of abundance"

John Graff

To me it's a toss up between #3 and #4. If you're going to use the "abundance" theme heavily in the book, I like the idea of putting a stake down with "the economics of abundance"

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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!