How are newspapers going to survive the e-revolution? Dan Pacheco of BookBrewer thinks he has the answer: e-books. He points to the recent Huffington Post decision to start organizing and curating years of journalism work on particular subjects and releasing it in the form of e-books.
E-book revenues, he suggests, could supplement flagging on-line ad revenues by targeting people who would like to read on given subjects in depth with materials that probably already exist in many newspaper archives. Why settle for a paywall when you can aim specific stories at target audiences who might never bother trolling your archives?
Newspapers and news organizations are swimming in content that’s perfect for e-books. A few examples include multi-part series, collections of celebrity interviews, popular columns, restaurant reviews and — irony of ironies — collections of book reviews.
He suggests that reporters could open their notebooks and write original longer-form content that they never bothered to write because it couldn’t have been published in the papers in their existing forms.
There’s certainly something to be said for this approach. Though Pacheco didn’t mention it, Ars Technica took in a considerable amount of revenue just by publishing one of its writers’ review of the new OS X as an e-book—and didn’t even have to give the reporter a cut of the revenue.
In fact, it seems to be only common sense to try to break out your assets and target sales individually to people who might be interested in them but not other things you have to offer. It’s really only surprising nobody has thought of it until now.