I Want It for Free!

I was recently ranting to my husband about how frustrating it is to know so many people with ebook readers wanting to download free books! Having written a couple of manuscripts, I now recognize that a book involves hours and hours of brow-furrowing concentration; back-wrenching butt-in-chair typing; and writes, rewrites, edits, proofs, critiques, and much more! It’s appalling to me that people are only willing to spend 99 cents or zero money on something that took an author perhaps a year to craft.

A few days later, I was skimming cnet.com for recommendations on video capture software. I was getting ready to type in the search box “free video capture software.” I glanced over at my desk which held a Starbucks “Pick of the Week” free download from iTunes. I reviewed my to-do list for the day which included a trip to the library to pick up free books for my kids to read.

Guilty.

We’re suckers for things that are free, and when something out there is free, we wonder why other people are charging! Truly, I do not subscribe to a newspaper or news magazine because I can get the headlines online for free. What additional benefit might I receive if I pay $39.95 per year for the news printed on paper and delivered to my house? Is  it worth it?

First-time museum visitors are also more likely to visit on free admission days (from American Association of Museums). However, the median cost to the museum for each visitor is about $36. I definitely availed myself of that opportunity by taking my kids to Children’s Museum of Houston on a free admission evening when they were young.

I downloaded the free beta version of Scrivener for Windows this week – which I am thoroughly enjoying – and wondered how much I’d be willing to pay for it. I sure would hate to have to pay for something I had been getting for free, but it took some effort to develop this software and I need to be willing to pay for it when the full version is released. (I sincerely hope that the price isn’t too high, though!)

What do we spend money for these days? Where are we willing to put our dollars down and pay the person whose labor provides us a product? What great things have you gotten for free?

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