NelsonFree: More Book Formats for One Price

One of the things consumers want in the current economic environment is value. They are reluctant to part with their hard-earned cash, unless you promise to save them money or give them more for the same money.

the first two nelsonfree books

Last fall, we were having one of our Quarterly Leadership Meetings. It was clear to us even then that readers were seeking greater value. We discussed a variety of options, including creating less expensive versions of our bestselling books.

Allen Arnold, the publisher of our fiction division, suggested that we might want to consider making available PDFs, MP3s, or other electronic formats with our books. I thought this was an interesting idea, so we discussed operationally how that might work. We didn’t really come to a conclusion; we just agreed to give it some more thought and come back with a proposal.

However, Joel Miller, the publisher of our business and culture division, took the bull by the horns. He developed a logo and a complete program. He also got two of his authors on board to launch NelsonFree with us. We announced the program yesterday. (See the Publishers Weekly story.)

The NelsonFree program allows readers to experience their content in multiple formats—the physical book, the audio book, and the e-book—without making multiple purchases. Traditionally, if readers want something beyond the printed word, they have to buy another copy of the same book. With NelsonFree, the everyday price of the hardcover book includes both the audio and the e-book.

Accessing the content is easy. After readers purchase a book with the NelsonFree logo, they receive a code that enables them to download an audio MP3 file and several types of e-book files, including EPub, MobiPocket, and PDF.

The first two NelsonFree titles will be available in late March: Scott McKain’s Collapse of Distinction and Michael Franzese’s I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse [affiliate links]. Another ten Thomas Nelson titles will be available in this unique format before the end of the year.

As Joel said in the press release, “The book is, in a sense, trapped by its format. And so is the consumer—locked into choosing one format over another or shelling out scarce funds for the same book in different wrappers. By freeing the book we free the reader to get greater use and enjoyment of our titles.”

After the announcement yesterday, we received a lot of great press. The Huffington Post called it “the biggest news in publishing since the Kindle.” They went on to say,

In the smartest move in years by the troubled book industry, the Thomas Nelson imprint announced a series of new titles it is releasing this year in the ‘NelsonFree’ format.

… taking advantage of the internet and cheap distribution methods, Nelson has dragged the book world into the 21st century…. If Random House and Ballantine and Simon & Schuster and the rest have a brain in their heads, they’ll follow suit immediately.”

Kudos to Joel and his team for a very innovative and timely idea.

Question: Would you be more inclined to buy books that have this feature?
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Deborah Piccurelli

    Personally, I love the idea, and would definitely take advantage of such a bargain. As an author, I think getting in on the ground floor of this innovative idea would really pay off in the end.

  • http://livingthebiblios.blogspot.com/ Ted

    Do this with your theological books and Logos!!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/thejeffbrown thejeffbrown

    Absolutely brilliant. Makes you wonder why no one thought of it before now.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/thejeffbrown thejeffbrown

    Absolutely brilliant. Makes you wonder why no one thought of it before now.

  • Andy

    Hurray, hurray, hurray. I am not the least bit surprised you lead the way on this and will do what I can to support Thomas Nelson. Living in Siberia means I can get a digital copy in a few minutes as opposed to over a month for a printed book. Now, what to do the Thomas Nelson bibles and study guides I have using Laridian.

  • Andy

    Hurray, hurray, hurray. I am not the least bit surprised you lead the way on this and will do what I can to support Thomas Nelson. Living in Siberia means I can get a digital copy in a few minutes as opposed to over a month for a printed book. Now, what to do the Thomas Nelson bibles and study guides I have using Laridian.

  • http://biz.blox.pl/ TesTeq

    Great idea! Period. Is it applicable for foreign cutomers?

  • http://biz.blox.pl TesTeq

    Great idea! Period. Is it applicable for foreign cutomers?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/daveanthold daveanthold

    This is a fantastic idea! Many times I do the reverse – buy the audio & then love the book so much that I buy the printed copy – this would get me everything at one price!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/daveanthold daveanthold

    This is a fantastic idea! Many times I do the reverse – buy the audio & then love the book so much that I buy the printed copy – this would get me everything at one price!

  • http://www.billheroman.com/ Bill

    A: Absolutely. I don't yet own a kindle, mainly because I'm a cheap and habitually 'late adopter', but I very much want one. E-books will never replace paper books for me, because I write in my books, creating something unique – a memory of the experience. (I read only non-fiction.)

    If the books I buy were also available in e-format, that would add tremendous value. There are times, as you say, when I'd like to check a quote or a fact and I can't lug all my books around everywhere. A Kindle-like device will be perfect for that, someday. But I am one of those who would always have to buy two copies, because paper books are my top priority.

    If the Kindle were searchable (is it?) that would add a lot of value as well.

    By the way, I don't know what gummed up your RSS feed, but yesterday I had zero posts in my reader and today there are ten. Nice to see them at last. :)

  • http://www.billheroman.com Bill

    A: Absolutely. I don't yet own a kindle, mainly because I'm a cheap and habitually 'late adopter', but I very much want one. E-books will never replace paper books for me, because I write in my books, creating something unique – a memory of the experience. (I read only non-fiction.)

    If the books I buy were also available in e-format, that would add tremendous value. There are times, as you say, when I'd like to check a quote or a fact and I can't lug all my books around everywhere. A Kindle-like device will be perfect for that, someday. But I am one of those who would always have to buy two copies, because paper books are my top priority.

    If the Kindle were searchable (is it?) that would add a lot of value as well.

    By the way, I don't know what gummed up your RSS feed, but yesterday I had zero posts in my reader and today there are ten. Nice to see them at last. :)

  • http://www.doublehdesign.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    This would have nothing to do with why or why not I would purchase a book. HOwever, it would be an excellent feature that I would use once in rare while.

    I am young but "old-fashioned". I love to curl up with a good book. Not an electronic device.

  • http://www.doublehdesign.blogspot.com Lauren

    This would have nothing to do with why or why not I would purchase a book. HOwever, it would be an excellent feature that I would use once in rare while.

    I am young but "old-fashioned". I love to curl up with a good book. Not an electronic device.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    That's huge.I've download quite a few free audio books lately.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    That's huge.I've download quite a few free audio books lately.

  • Mark LaGrone

    I have been wanting this for a about a year – glad someone else had the same thoughts. I believe every book should be this way – I would have paid extra by the way for this. Now if you could just get them to add "ink" abilities to the Kindle life would be perfect.

  • Mark LaGrone

    I have been wanting this for a about a year – glad someone else had the same thoughts. I believe every book should be this way – I would have paid extra by the way for this. Now if you could just get them to add "ink" abilities to the Kindle life would be perfect.

  • Pingback: Going Digital

  • Pingback: Experimenting with Digital Delivery | Michael Hyatt

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/matthewdbenson matthewdbenson

    Great idea – I like it. Please keep us informed of how you see the success of this over time. Would be interesting to know also if you see other publishers following in your footsteps. Well done for taking this brave step.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/matthewdbenson matthewdbenson

    Great idea – I like it. Please keep us informed of how you see the success of this over time. Would be interesting to know also if you see other publishers following in your footsteps. Well done for taking this brave step.

  • http://www.jjhebert.net/ J. J. Hebert

    Glad to see one of the publishing giants is finally using technology to their advantage! For quite some time now, authors have been offering free digital copies at lulu.com and free podcast audiobooks at podiobooks.com. In fact, this July, Unconventional, my debut novel, will be offered as a trade paperback and a free audiobook narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, an award-winning voice over talent! Folks will be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and listen to my book on their iPods. For FREE. Scott Siggler and Jeremy Robinson have both done this.

  • http://www.jjhebert.net/ J. J. Hebert

    Glad to see one of the publishing giants is finally using technology to their advantage! For quite some time now, authors have been offering free digital copies at lulu.com and free podcast audiobooks at podiobooks.com. In fact, this July, Unconventional, my debut novel, will be offered as a trade paperback and a free audiobook narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, an award-winning voice over talent! Folks will be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and listen to my book on their iPods. For FREE. Scott Siggler and Jeremy Robinson have both done this.

  • Pingback: Collapse Of Distinction Book Review Lead Change Group « Lead Change Group

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adam_S Adam_S

    I just bought the Noticer because of the promotion. I know my mother in law liked the Traveler (she gave me a copy but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.). I read on my kindle mostly, but like to give books away when I am done with them. So I bought your hardback and will give it away to my mother in law (probably without opening it) and then keep the ebook format to read on my own when I have a chance.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adam_S Adam_S

    I just bought the Noticer because of the promotion. I know my mother in law liked the Traveler (she gave me a copy but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.). I read on my kindle mostly, but like to give books away when I am done with them. So I bought your hardback and will give it away to my mother in law (probably without opening it) and then keep the ebook format to read on my own when I have a chance.

  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  • Pingback: Something for Nothing Can Make You Something « Blog Archive « Ryan Markel

  • Pingback: I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse by Michael Franzese

  • Pingback: The Noticer by Andy Andrews | Mr Shields: I'm a reader not a fighter

  • Pingback: 6 e-Book Trends to Watch in 2011

  • Pingback: Six e-Book Trends to Watch in 2011 « The Three R's Blog

  • Pingback: Шесть тенденций книжного рынка, на которые стоит обратить внимание в 2011 году. | Блог Алексея Макарова

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/73D7HN524T6LQZYTM7PCRB6A7Y tmabie

    Michael, I don’t know if your read and/or respond to older posts like this, but I have a technical question. (I will be reading your other posts on this topic.)  I recently downsized my library because of a change in ministry.  I gave away a large portion (10 boxes) to a local bible college.  Part of the reason is that we have very small home and we don’t have the room for it.  So I’ve been considering alternate forms of books.  One one hand I like like to listen to audio book as I don’t have the time to sit and read.  On the other hand, I like to have a physical book to make notes in.  So audio books make sense and because of space e-books also do.  however, it’s not alway possible to print an ebook for the purpose of making notes.  I know that it may also be possible to do this electronically.  My question: what format is the best format to be able to print from.  Thanks, Michael.  Looking forward to your response.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t think you could print either one. But on an e-book, you can take your notes right from within the book. Thanks.