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First,a little confession.

While this story pretends to be about things becoming free,that’s only in the sense of free samples; buy one,get one free; bare bones for free in hopes of selling the deluxe version; free but with advertising. You know the drill.

But now free is the new black — chic,essential,even sexy.

A few years into this young century,every mouse click makes clearer that some things will be free whether the folks who produce them want to give them away or not.

Music. Software. Books. Or,for instance,this article (at least on the Web).

Some marketplace analysts — most prominently Chris Anderson in his latest book,“Free: The Future of a Radical Price” — suggest that even as digital technology and the Internet shrink the price of many forms of work to free,free can also offer a new way to turn a buck.

“People are making lots of money charging nothing. Not nothing for everything,but nothing for enough that we have essentially created an economy as big as a good-sized country around the concept of $0.00,” writes Anderson,the editor of Wired magazine.

Kansas City Star

“It’s driven by an extraordinary new ability to lower the costs of goods and services close to zero,” he writes. (The digital version of his book is free. The bound version will set you back $26.99.) “This new form of free is based on the economics of bits,not atoms. … The bits economy is deflationary.”