by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
business models, ebooks, pricing, sales

Even More Evidence Of How Free Ebooks Can Increase Sales Of Physical Books

from the but-free-doesn't-work!!!! dept

We've noted in the past the various stories of individual authors like Paulo Coelho and David Pogue, who showed that free (non-DRM'd) versions of their ebooks helped increase physical book sales. Then, in February, we wrote about some actual research that showed that when unauthorized ebooks get out into the wild, there is a "significant jump in sales" of the physical book. And, now there's even more evidence to support this. A recent paper by a PhD. candidate noticed that free ebooks tend to increase sales of physical books. In this case, rather than looking at "unauthorized" ebooks, it looks like they focused on authorized free ebook versions. Not all of the books increased in sales, but you can see that there are lots of variables that impact this (how are the ebooks offered, how are the physical books offered, what types of books are they, etc.). Either way, though, it seems like there's increasing evidence that when done right free ebooks can certainly increase the sales of physical books -- despite claims from companies like Attributor that unauthorized ebooks are costing publishers money.

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  • identicon
    Dave Miller, 5 Mar 2010 @ 6:49pm

    Possible issues with the data

    Scalzi did some back-of-the-envelope calculations and noticed that the control data for the Tor free ebook releases were right smack in the middle of the holiday season, which might skew the results subsequent to those releases. By widening out the samples and re-running the numbers, he calculated an improvement in sales after his free Tor ebook was released, which Hilton's study didn't show.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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