Free – The Future of a Radical Price

I have just finished Chris Anderson’s latest book which explores the impact of the digital world on the price we pay (think advertising-funded Google, obviously, but also everything frProduct Detailsom free samples to counterfeit handbags).  It’s a nicely written narrative and a thought-provoking subject but somehow, I’m not entirely convinced.

In places, Anderson’s arguments are over-extended and his economics feel flawed.  The overall tone of the book is of the kind of hype which precedes the bursting of bubbles.  And yet, at core, I think he is largely correct: the ability to extend a “free to user” model that we all know from commercial TV to a vast array of business models will be a true paradigm shift.  Many things will go down in the flood.  Largely, I think he is right about the bits vs atoms argument: delivering digitally drives marginal cost close to zero.  But his arguments seem not wholly robust.

Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile read.

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