The difference between a bonus and free

Free is something you get, no matter what.

A bonus is something you get as an add-on when you purchase something, or trade your attention.

The purpose of free is to spread the word, alert the universe and generate interest.

The purpose of a bonus is to reward immediate action and to sway the undecided.

Here are some free things we built for Linchpin:

  • Download an eight-page manifesto from Changethis. (My favorite one)
  • Find posters and riffs on Scribd.
  • See a brainstorming video on Vimeo.
  • Watch a video on shipping at Behance.

In each case, you don't have to do a thing to get started but you might decide you like it enough to spread the word. In the old days, gifts like these would cost money to create and be hard to share. Today, the opposite is true. The goal of something that's free is to spread the idea.

On the other hand, some bonus things we built for Linchpin:

Oh, wait, I can't show them to you because you have to buy something first.

Anyway, what we did was collect:

  • Zen Unicorn, an ebook of the last few years of this blog (it sells on the Kindle for $9)
  • Membership to the invite-only online Triiibe community that I started a while ago (limited supply of these)
  • Ten minutes of excerpts from the audio version of my book
  • Some other bonuses, below

To get them, you need to answer a simple question to demonstrate that you've ordered the new book. That's because they are bonuses, not free. And yes, you qualify even if you got the book as a gift or received it a month ago. The bonus material will only be available for a few weeks.

Blue We also did two special deals with 800 CEO READ (that's their phone number). If you hurry, you can get a bonus hardcover copy of The Blue Sweater with your purchase of two copies of LInchpin. Jacqueline's breakthrough is a brilliant book that will change the way you see the world.

Or, if you'd like one of the no-longer-sold boxed sets, there are a few left, available to anyone who buys a bulk box of 50 Linchpin copies from them.

KINDLE USERS! Also, if you have a Kindle, you'll automatically get a thirty-page original essay when you buy the Kindle edition at Amazon. It magically shows up on your Kindle, you don't even have to click. This is the only place you can get it. The free bonus will only be available for the next five weeks.

The best bonuses are valuable and scarce, worthy of your attention. I hope we succeeded.

Whatever you sell, whatever idea you want to spread, it's now possible to create both freebies and bonuses. One spreads, the other induces.

PS for audio listeners, Linchpin is now available on iTunes.