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Old 03-05-2010, 05:04 AM   #1
Iphinome
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an interesting paper on free ebooks

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text...36451.0013.101

From the article..

Quote:
Perhaps the most significant finding of this study was the contrasting results received by Tor and the other three groups studied. With one exception, sales of the nonfiction titles increased after a free digital release, and when the sales of the books were combined, sales were up 5%. The majority of the fantasy/science fiction books that were not part of a group release also had increased sales, and as a group their sales increased 26%, largely as a result of “Title 12.” Four of the five Random House books saw sales gains after the free versions were released; in total, combined sales of those five books increased 9%. These three groups were in contrast to our initial hypothesis that book sales would decline. Although we cannot say that the free e-books caused sales to increase, a correlation exists between a free e-book and increased print sales.
It looks like the only losers were tor who seem to use a different setup for how to download and how long they're available
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:14 AM   #2
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That fits with Cory Doctorow's experience of offering freebies - they work like free advertising, an dthe fans go on to buy the book later.

One angle that will merit more study is this:

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In addition, we did not study how free books affect the sales of other titles by an author. For example, all the books released by Random House were the first books in a series. Future analysis needs to be done to determine whether sales of other books by an author (e.g., later books in a series) are influenced by making one of an author’s works freely available
If the free book creates a fan, that fan may go on to buy the rest of the author's material.

(This fits with my experience: In a pirate context, a pirated back-catalog has made me fans of several artists in various media, and I then go on to buy their future stuff)
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:16 AM   #3
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the problem with the TOR freebies seems to be the follow-on for series...there was one book I enjoyed, but two other ones in the series are not available as e-books and according to the author there are no plans to change that (yet).

the idea and opportunity was wasted by TOR, they could have been at the forefront of a revolution.....

...shame.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:27 AM   #4
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andygates ya Eric Flint seems to think the same thing but this was interesting to me since it comes with data.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:54 PM   #5
Kali Yuga
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I concur with the authors that this study needs to be viewed with extreme caution. There is no solid conclusion to draw from this particular study.

I'm open to a variety of possible results from releasing free books, but IMO this study is just too narrow and targeted to produce viable results. It also doesn't look for a "halo effect," for lack of a better term; e.g. in many cases, the goal behind releasing a free ebook by an author is to increase sales of other books (paper and ebook) by that same author. This study doesn't look for that effect at all.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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One problem I have with this though is that in all of the cases the free book was released later in the life cycle so a portion of the sales increase may simply be knowledge of the book propagating either through reviews, word of mouth, or some other means, and not related to the free book at all or very minimally.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:23 PM   #7
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You should read the articals at Baen regarding giving free e-books and the results they have had.

http://www.baen.com/library/palaver_index.htm
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicmonster View Post
You should read the articals at Baen regarding giving free e-books and the results they have had
Yup...mises.org does the same with their entire catalog (there was an article some time back about the (positive) effect on sales of dead-tree books, but I can't find it...)
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