People Are Willing To Pay, Even If You Offer Something For Free

from the some-data dept

Last week, we relaunched our Techdirt Insider Shop with a number of new and different offerings, including (for the first time) the ability to do a "pay what you want" option to get some downloads, starting off with downloads of my book, Approaching Infinity, as well as the research report we came out with earlier this year, The Sky is Rising. We often hear from critics that if people can get something for free, they will, but here's a clear cut case of where that's not true (though we've seen it in many other cases as well.) It's only the early going with our store, but already, we've seen that two thirds of people who got the books decided to pay for it, with the average price being just under $5. Over 20% of orders were for $10 or more. We'll be curious to see what happens over time and if it changes. But, once again, it seems to suggest that, even if you're giving content away for free, if people want to support you, they will.

Filed Under: connect with fans, downloads, ebooks, pay what you want, reason to buy


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The First Word

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  1. icon
    G Thompson (profile), 21 Aug 2012 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It could also be what I like to call (and you can see how old I am) the Free/Share-ware conundrum.

    Say you find a virtual item (lets call it a ebook since they are the easiest analogy) and can either purchase it or get it for free. It's really not an essential thing that you need so you cannot justify purchasing it now.. but you would like to peruse it anyway because it has piqued your interest.

    What you do is that you obtain the Free version. Whether that is a cut down condensed version (readers digest style), a few chapters (and not just chapter 1 but a random selection incl chapter 1) or a complete version in a basic format (TXT, HTML, or PDF).

    You read this.. OMG It's like a new universe of wonder has appeared in your brain.. four things could then occur with three being very ethical
    * For condensed/preview (Shareware) version you purchase the full product in a wide range of formats to read anywhere, you also might purchase a full hardcopy to place on a bookshelf and loan out to friends - then the circle starts again with them.

    * For free product (Freeware) even though you have the product there is just this niggling feeling in the back of your mind that, hang on I have an ethical duty to acknowledge this work and how much I apreciated it so I'll throw the author some cash based on how much I can both afford and what value I think it is worth. Also I should thena wide range of formats (maybe even hardcopy) and loan out to friends - then the circle starts again with them.

    * You cannot afford it, feel bad but send a Postcard/Note of acknowledgement to the author and write/talk about it to all and sundry promoting this amazing product. Best Advertisement Ever! [ie: both profit]

    * You are an unethical dick who just wants everything and thinks the world owes them a favour so refuse to do anything unless it's in your best interest. We all know these people, some are politicians, some are just twits. They will always exist but sometimes just maybe they will also tell there friends/acquaintances and they will not be dicks and do the above three.

    Interestingly from a direct marketing and sales point of view the people who do both Shareware/Freeware options above are the ones you want to market too in the future. They are the real bread and butter and will also promote your business/products in the future. Keep their details, keep them happy and you will have a steady cash flow by offering 'share/free' products for life.

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