Ars Technica sells free review for $5 on Kindle, makes $15K in three days
Will people pay for quality digital content? It’s an argument that has been on the table for quite some time, with naysayers pointing towards downloads of discographies instead of paying attention to concrete purchasing decisions.
Last week, Apple released its new version of Mac OS X “Lion”, and as per usual, Ars Technica’s John Siracusa delivered a whopping 27,300 word review of it. His 19-page story, published last Wednesday is available for free online and has already received over 3 million page views.
In a telling turn of events, Ars Technica also decided to sell his review as a $5 Kindle ebook. In its first 24-hours on sale, the ebook sold 3,000 copies. And at $5 a pop, that’s a cool $15,000 in revenue in just one day. Harvard’s Niemen Lab interviewed Ken Fisher, the founder and editor of Ars, who is “pleasantly surprised by the outcome”. In fact, Fisher thinks of it as “free money” and that “he underestimated the power of Amazon’s one-click experience, which makes impulsive purchases painless.”
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