The Free Experiment
In January 2007, Google held a conference, called “Google Unbound,” at the New York Public Library’s main building. There, the Google Print folks managed to gather the trifecta of “give it away ’til they pay you for it” marketers: Cory Doctorow, Seth Godin and Chris Anderson.
All three are authors. All three have done various experiments in giving away digital copies of their work. And all three have found tremendous success in doing so. At the time, their experiences probably seemed a bit revolutionary to many of the publishers in the room. But more than a year and a half later, a number of those same publishers are conducting similar experiments, including HarperCollins and Random House.
Laura Dawson is CEO of Numerical Gurus, LLC, consulting company providing services to the information, librarym and book industries. Dawson has consulted to numerous organizations in these verticals, primarily focusing on solving problems related to metadata, identifiers, Linked Data, semantic web applications, and structured content.