, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 43–49 | Cite as

Free: Why Authors are Giving Books Away on the Internet

  • John Hilton III and David Wiley


With increasing frequency, authors in academic and non-academic fields are releasing their books for free digital distribution. Anecdotal evidence suggests that exposure to both authors and books increases when books are available as free downloads, and that print sales are not negatively affected. For this study we interviewed ten authors to determine their perceptions of the effect free digital distribution has on the impact and sales of their work. In addition, we examined the sales data of two books over a two year period of time, in which one book was freely available for the second year. All of the individuals we surveyed felt free digital downloads increased the distribution and impact of their book. None of the authors felt that print sales were negatively affected. Data from our book sale comparison suggest that in the case we studied, free digital distribution did not negatively affect sales.


Open educational resources online technology digital publishing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Hilton III and David Wiley

There are no affiliations available

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