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'Free maximises your reach'

18 May 2009

'The enemy of most authors is not that they are not making money, it's that they are not being read. Eighty or 90% of authors don't make a living from it, so why do they write? For other reasons that don't pay the mortgage: attention, reputation and expression. For them, free is great because it minimizes the barriers to entry. Let's say I give the e-book version of Free for free, and 95% of the people experience it for free and then 5% decided they like it so much they want to buy the hardcover to have on their shelf, or give it to someone. You may say: "Well, gosh, that's not very much." But what if it's 5% of 10 million people? That's not so bad. Free maximizes your reach.'

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and Free: The Future of a Radical Price, in the Bookseller