the road ahead

Is Free Really Free?
August 2, 2009, 9:41 pm
Filed under: business, ministry

free pic

Chris Anderson’s new book Free: The Future of a Radical Price is already causing a major debate among publishers and those close to the industry. Just what does free content really mean?

It is interesting that as publishers move into the digital world there is very little discussion of how it will impact their business models. The herd mentality is moving most if not all book content to the web platform. But have we who are publishers counted the cost? Do we understand what we are doing? Is this what is best for the customer and for our authors whom we represent?

NavPress is working on a very important process for utlizing the web as part of our bigger publishing plan. Stay tuned! Lots of interesting days ahead for the publishing world.


6 Comments so far
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I find it all fascinating. The last significant advancement in audio reproduction was the Hi-Fi records of the 1950’s. Yet, we’ve too easily, in my estimation, transitioned away from quality for the sake of convenience. Digital “conversations” are replacing face to face discussion and accountability. I have the same reservations regarding “free” digital content. Let’s be honest, in a Wiki world, whence cometh truth? Are the lines being blurred? Is it worth the price we are paying? I still like the feel of a book in my hands and the occasional pop of the vinyl. Another topic, but very different experiences involved as well.

Comment by Marty Taylor

I spend a lot of time online in my job. When the first browser hit the market, I knew it would radically change information distribution. On the one hand, that was a good thing as we now have quick access to a wealth of information. My family never would have discovered Nav Press, for instance, without the Web. For that, I am very grateful. On the other hand, I’m concerned we’re on the brink of losing much that is valuable because the business models are still evolving.

Comment by sharilee

I like this issue because it forces us to focus on the fundamentals: Why are we doing this? Are we message-driven, and hoping just to recoup our costs along the way? Or are we business-driven, hoping to maximize profits while dealing in a wholesome product? Or something in between? I ask myself this as an author all the time.

Comment by Robert Elmer

This is an important issue both from the viewpoint of publishing, but also regarding the usefulness of content. The amount of unfiltered and unedited content soon will overwhelm the average person. Publishing, which includes editing and some discrimination of content, helps the reader know when it is not “junk”. In order to keep good publishers in business, there needs to be a viable business model (not one just driven by internet advertising) to allow some discrimination of information. I think there should be a cost to downloads – giving some free (like a chapter). If our goal is to help readers find biblicaly sound information we need more than a Wikopedia mindset. The internet is a reality. We can never turn the pages back. But we can figure a way to develop a reputation for reliable material and still make a profit (not a bad word) so that more can be produced.

Comment by Jerry E. White

Will stay tuned. Looking forward to what NavPress has to say and what you’ll do in the coming months and years. It’s an adventure!

Comment by Joan C Webb

Well, I believe that you give the first one away free, and then charge for the rest. You as a publisher in a specific niche have to figure out what that means….

Comment by Matches Malone

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