Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free and Tribes

As if I don’t have enough to read, I downloaded two new audiobooks for my iPhone. I downloaded Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Wired Magazine's Chris Anderson. This book fascinates me. First of all, I downloaded it for free on my iPhone as an audiobook and as an e-book for my iPhone Kindle app, my first! How will the publisher make money on a free book? (Hardcover sales?)

As a marketer, the concept of free fascinates me. I mean, much of the content on the Internet is free. Social networking sites are free. YouTube is free. And look at their popularity. Yet most poetry is free and no one buys it (I'm speaking very generally here.).

As someone who puts her writing on the Web, I think I’ve benefited by freely sharing my work, but how will that affect book sales in terms of reaching an audience? If one can get something for free, at what level will a reader pay for it? Does getting something for free affect its value? Of course it does, but is it valued less? For me, it’s all tied into worth and value in our culture.

And, I downloaded Seth Godin’s audiobook Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Overlaping concepts, I think. I’ve been a fan of this marketing guru for a few years, ever since his “purple cow” days. Tribes talk about developing a devoted following to champion a cause, whatever that may be. In my case, the blog has become a way to reach out to the community of poets and writers.

Both books share an unconventional way of looking at how to get a message across. Personally, I don’t think the community talks about poetry and business enough. But for me, it’s a fascinating exchange between art and commerce.


Kay said...

Interesting and valid points you make here January. You are very 'with it' as we used to say in the 70s! :)

Kristin said...

I buy about half of the poetry books that I buy because of blogs: I've read a blog, like the voice of the poet (if I'm lucky, I've gotten to see a poem or two on the blog), and want to see the entire volume. Or I've read people blogging about books they've read--actually, if you count these kind of recommendations, most of the poetry books I buy are because of blogs.

Russell Ragsdale said...

The shape of the current poetry delivery mechanism (free, electronic) has some real problems and some real untapped potential. Thanks for the suggestion on these books. Both sound like my kind of subjects. I'm glad Rethabile gave me a link to you!

January said...

Thanks for stopping by Russell.

Writers have an opportunity to change the delivery model so our work garners more attention yet is equitable to both publishers and artists. Not sure how change will happen but it's coming, at least that's my belief.

January said...

Kristin, I agree, blogs have an authentic quality that resonates with me, too. So if I get a recommendation from a blog, I usually look into it.

January said...

I'm not as "hip and cool" as you, Kay!



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