Rodale Races Into E-Book Market with Runner’s World Series

By Steve Smith

As the e-reader and tablet wars heat up among Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the publishing side is happy to feed the market with special e-offerings. Rodale  announced a new e-book series from the Runner’s World brand called Runner’s World Essential Guides. These electronic-only books will cover some basics of the running field: bare foot running, energy-rich eating and weight loss. The digital downloads will go on sale later this week for prices ranging from $3 to $10 on a selection of the most popular devices: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Google eBooks and the Apple iBooks store.

Rodale is also issuing an e-book on marathon runner Grete Waitz, who died in April, and an e-book version of the previously published Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures from RW editor David Willey.

As we have seen with a number of magazine brands, including Harvard Business Review and Daily Beast/Newsweek, publishers are leveraging the flexible e-book formats to package and repackage material that is not quite long enough for a book length project and not short enough for treatment merely as an article. E-books are also an opportunity to issue time-sensitive books or titles targeting niche audiences. Willey says in a statement, “We launched this comprehensive e-cook series to fill that niche and provide our growing readership with even broader and deeper advice on selected topics than we have the space to deliver in an issue of the magazine.”

Of course, Rodale is not new to the world of books. One of the chief revenue streams for the company’s digital operations has been direct sales of the company’s many branded books, including bestsellers such as Eat This, Not That. Rodale has also been extremely active on the app development side, crafting scores of smartphone and tablet apps that that not only offer training and advice but also re-imagine some of the material in their books. One of the most popular iPhone apps from the publisher in recent years has been its Eat This, Not That game.