Free: The Future of a Radical Price

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Free: The Future of a Radical Price
Free by chris anderson bookcover.jpg
Hardcover edition
Author Chris Anderson
CountryUnited States
SubjectPricing, e-commerce
Publisher Hyperion
Publication date
July 7, 2009
Pages288 pp.
ISBN 978-1401322908
Preceded by The Long Tail  
Followed by Makers  

Free: The Future of a Radical Price is the second book written by Chris Anderson, Editor in chief of Wired magazine. The book was published on July 7, 2009 by Hyperion. Free is Anderson's follow-up to his book The Long Tail , published in 2006.



Free follows a thread from the previous work. It examines the rise of pricing models which give products and services to customers for free, often as a strategy for attracting users and up-selling some of them to a premium level. That class of model has become widely referred to as "freemium" and has become very popular for a variety of digital products and services.


Free was released in the United States on July 7, 2009, though the night before, on his blog, Chris Anderson posted a browser readable version of the book and the unabridged audiobook version. Anderson generated controversy for plagiarizing content from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia in Free. [1] Anderson responded to the claim on his The Long Tail blog, stating that there were disagreements between him and the publisher over accurate citation of Wikipedia due to the changing nature of its content, leading him to integrate footnotes into the text. [2] Also on his blog, he took full responsibility for the mistakes and noted that the digital editions of Free were corrected. The notes and sources were later provided as a download on his blog. [3]


Regardless of the controversy, the $29.99 hard copy version of Free debuted as #12 on the New York Times Best Seller List. [4] It was also available as a free download for a limited time, and 200,000 to 300,000 digital versions were downloaded in the first two weeks. [5] The unabridged audiobook remains free, while the abridged version costs $7.49. [6]

In a widely read review in The New Yorker , Malcolm Gladwell roundly criticized the book's premise. [7] Anderson responded online on his blog at [8] and on PBS's Charlie Rose show. [9] The book was also reviewed in the New York Times [10] and the Wall Street Journal . [11]

See also

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  1. Jaquith, Waldo (June 23, 2009). "Chris Anderson's Free Contains Apparent Plagiarism". The Virginia Quarterly Review. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved 2020-03-13 via Internet Archive.
  2. Anderson, Chris (July 24, 2009). "Corrections in the digital editions of Free". The Long Tail. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  3. Anderson, Chris. "FREE Notes" (PDF). The Long Tail. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  4. Anderson, Chris. "A New York Times Bestseller!". The Long Tail. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  5. Anderson, Chris. "A New York Times Bestseller!". The Long Tail. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  6. Anderson, Chris (July 6, 2009). "FREE for free: first ebook and audiobook versions released". The Long Tail. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  7. Gladwell, Malcolm (July 6, 2009). "Priced to Sell: Is free the future?". The New Yorker .
  8. Anderson, Chris (June 29, 2009). "Dear Malcolm: Why so threatened?".
  9. Charlie Rose (July 21, 2009). "A conversation with Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine". The Charlie Rose Show. Public Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on September 28, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  10. Postrel, Virginia (July 10, 2009). "What You Pay For". The New York Times .
  11. Philips, Jeremy (July 8, 2009). "To Rake It In, Give It Away". The Wall Street Journal .