Wanted to point out three related links that have to do with giving books or content away free -- and reaping the rewards.
The first (and the inspiration for the post) is a recent article about Lonely Planet giving away their city guides for free for four days during the volcanic ash/travel nightmare (I ain't typing that volcano's name). As the article points out the response was overwhelming: 4 million downloads in 4 days and revenues rose during the period.
Then there is this interesting publication brought to us by the fine folks at O'Reilly (and brought to my attention by Sean Cranbury - thank you sir). It has the exciting title IMPACT OF P2P AND FREE DISTRIBUTION ON BOOK SALES and is a research report based on efforts by O'Reilly, Random House and other publishers to put real numbers behind digital distribution experiments.
Finally a brief article that suggests publishers online should charge for the right thing. That is because they are just replicating their offline models online they are charging at the wrong point.
Just another thing that digital publishing is causing us to re-think.