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New York Mag and Demand Media Use E-Books for Long Form Collections
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
And so the e-book increasingly has become a popular outlet for aggregating magazine media. New York magazine has partnered with digital media startup Byliner to release “New York’s Most Popular: Readers’ 26 Favorite Stories of the Past Five Years” in a digital book format. The two dozen plus pieces anthologize the best of the recent stable of writers working for the magazine. It includes pieces by Frank Rich, Jonathan Chait, Tina Rosenberg, Po Bronson, Rosanne Barr and Mark Jacobson.
New York’s collection will be offered for $7.99 in the Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble electronic bookstores along with other tablet-facing book retailers. They are partnering with Byliner in the effort, a company that publishes original fiction and non-fiction in e-formats that are meant to be read in one sitting. The company tells minonline that the model involves a straight revenue split between the two partners. Future volumes are not yet planned, but New York will evaluate the performance of this first foray into e-books.
While it is understandable that magazines would look for innovative digital platforms for their article-length ware, the other new entry into e-books this week is a startup that used to be called derisively a “content farm.” Demand Media has started an e-book line with an ambitious portfolio. A series of five e-books will cover various aspects of the pets category, written by veterinarians. The books will offer owner tips on managing and understanding the behavior of pets. A wine book series already includes 13 volumes on different varietals. These books are written by experts in their fields, the company says. While the wine volumes come in at 200 to 300 pages and the pets books are closer to 50, all of the e-books we could find for the company were similarly priced at $2.99. They are being offered for the Amazon Kindle.
Both of these projects underscore the ways in which the post-PC environments allow publishers to rethink content packaging as the mechanisms for consumption diversify. As publishers start looking upon their well of content as a reservoir that can be tapped in endless formats, they have to start thinking beyond just available platforms. As content goes mobile it is capable of being used in multiple cases and in different user moods and modes. Digitization always allowed for parsing content into new and interesting packages, but the desktop generally offered limited modes of consumption. Tablets, phones, and ultimately in-car consoles, refrigerators, stoves, and just about anything that can carry a screen or accept a headphone jack are capable of tapping new occasions for content use. E-books are a start, but in many respects apps are the surer path towards turning content into utility.
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