By Edward Nawotka
Today’s lead story looks at Flat World Publishing’s “freemium” model for publishing college textbooks. The model isn’t exactly new: authors ranging from Chris Anderson to Cory Doctorow to Seth Godin have long advocated giving digital or online-only editions away for free in order to entice readers to purchase print books. Big Six and other publishers have been experimenting along the same lines, sometimes giving away a free e-book edition of an author’s work in order to entice buyers to purchase the latest paperback or hardcover. To a lesser extent, the free sample chapters given away by publishers online are another example, albeit more modest of the freemium model (see Kevin Smoker’s discussion on PP of why publishers need better book samples here).
Certainly, the model has advantages. But do you see it expanding beyond the current manifestations? With so much free content available online will it become customary for authors to offer free e-book editions (over a short time frame, perhaps) to seed an audience? Is giving away a chapter enough? What works/what doesn’t?
Read our story and let us know what you think in the comments?