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Free (Anderson book)

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Free: The Future of a Radical Price
Hardcover edition
AuthorChris Anderson
SubjectPricing, e-commerce
Publication date
July 7, 2009
Publication placeUnited States
Pages288 pp.
Preceded byThe Long Tail 
Followed byMakers 

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]


Despite the controversy, the $29.99 hard copy version of Free debuted at #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.[4] The unabridged audiobook remains free, while the abridged version costs $7.49.[5]

In a review in The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell roundly criticized the book's premise.[6] Anderson responded online on his blog at Wired.com[7] and on PBS's Charlie Rose show.[8] The book was also reviewed in the New York Times[9] and the Wall Street Journal.[10]

See also[edit]


  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. Archived from the original on 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  3. ^ Anderson, Chris. "FREE Notes" (PDF). The Long Tail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  4. ^ a b Anderson, Chris. "A New York Times Bestseller!". The Long Tail. Archived from the original on 2018-09-07. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  5. ^ Anderson, Chris (July 6, 2009). "FREE for free: first ebook and audiobook versions released". The Long Tail. Archived from the original on 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  6. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (July 6, 2009). "Priced to Sell: Is free the future?". The New Yorker.
  7. ^ Anderson, Chris (June 29, 2009). "Dear Malcolm: Why so threatened?". Wired.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Postrel, Virginia (July 10, 2009). "What You Pay For". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Philips, Jeremy (July 8, 2009). "To Rake It In, Give It Away". The Wall Street Journal.

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