Publishing Talk: Blog, Widget & Facebook
Christian Publishing & Author Blogs

Free Content Really Sells

Wmpy_kidPlenty of authors and publishers are still concerned about potential cannibalization when book content is also available for free online.  This New York Times article, Crossover Dreams: Turning Free Web Work Into Free Book Sales provides even more evidence that free online content can indeed be sold in print.  This particular article talks about a book called Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the 147,000 copies it has sold since it was published in April.  This, despite that all the content remains freely available at a site called Funbrain.

This is just one successful example, of course, and there are many others.  One that I like to cite is our group's very own Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.  The book was built on a blog and the content is still there for anyone who wants to read it free online.  Despite the fact that the content remains freely available, Naked Conversations is still one of the all-time top-selling books about blogging.


shel israel

I have always liked SciFi author Cory Doctorow's line: "I have made a fortune by giving away my content." Not only did our blog reader sell us an awful lot of books, those same blog followers have been instrumental in boosting careers for Scoble nd me.

By: Roger C. Parker

This scenario seems to be working better and better for more and more authors, including Seth Godin.

Perhaps the best example of how the "blog to book" model works is David Meerman Scott's fine book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR--published earlier this year by John Wiley.

David, an editorial board member at, also describes how the book came to be in his excellent blog.

Roger C. Parker

Jonathan Bailey

Printed content always has a real value add over online content. People, for the most part, hate reading large amounts of work on a screen and printed materials provide a convenience and a material possession that goes beyond what you can get at a computer.

That being said, this model works a little less elegantly for digital audio and, increasingly, video. This isn't to say it can't work in those areas, just that a physical CD doesn't provide much of a value to someone who is just going to rip it and put it on an MP3 player.

Still, by in large, the Internet has been good to writers. If only we can get rid of this pesky plagiarism issue.

T Demop, Blogging for Business

I've decided before writing any more print books, to test the waters with free shorter ebooks.
This will accomplish two things: help determine if there is any market, and help me determine if I actually want to write a full length book on the topic.

And I'm still firmly believe that many authors should promote their books by blogging.

Kelly Monaghan

Interesting post. I've had the complete text of two of our books ("Universal Orlando" and "The Other Orlando") available online for several years now, updated with each new edition. Sales have done nothing but rise.

In fact, I'm reading this post while waiting for the complete text of another book -- "Florida Spring Training: Your Guide To Touring the Grapefruit League" -- to finish uploading to!

Book Calendar

I've always thought the Baen free library was an incredible example of free books online. There is also an excellent essay on giving away online boks to sell new titles. It really is a very nice list of free titles.

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