Book review: Free

Free – Chris Anderson

(Note: I read this book in 2009, and this is a repost of a review I did then in Visual Bookshelf on my Facebook)

As with The Long Tail that I reviewed about last week, Chris does a wide and deep search on the topic. One can read the introductory chapter and feel that’s all there is to say on the subject, but they’d be wrong. Chris has a nice writing style and uses a lot of examples. There are some very interesting examples on how “free” has been applied, such as popularizing Jell-O in the USA and music bands in Brazil.

Conclusion: Read it, if you like the economic side of software development.

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Book review: The Long Tail

The (Longer) Long Tail – Chris Anderson

(Note: I read this book in 2007, and back then it didn’t have “Longer” in the title. This is a repost of a review I did then in Visual Bookshelf on my Facebook.)

When this was written, back in 2006, I can imagine it being highly interesting. Today I don’t think most people would raise an eyebrow as the concept is so common: digital distribution is so cheap you can have an almost infinite amount of products in your catalog. So many in fact that even if you only sell one copy of each one the total sales from these “long tale products” adds up to a considerable increase in revenue for the company. Still it’s very interesting. He still has some valid points that most business hasn’t quite handled that well: by having an almost infinite variety of products, how do the customers find what they want?

Conclusion: Read it, if you have some extra time. Definitely a must-read for anyone starting or running an online service with a very large product catalogue. (2011 update: Today his new book Free might be more interesting.)