In an interesting post on the Online Journalism Review website Robert Niles weighs up the opportunities for publishers investing in apps versus eBooks. In his post Niles says he would be surprised to find a newsroom spending “even half of what its devoting to app development on eBooks”.
But with a quick look at the pricing of the top paid apps compared to eBooks, he says it is about time news organisations take “a serious look” at the eBook market.
There have been some recent examples of news outlets entering the eBook market and ultimately enhancing the shelf-life of news content as a result. Last month the Guardian launched its pwm new series of eBooks called Guardian Shorts, which started with Phone Hacking: How the Guardian broke the story.
According to Niles within the News category of the app store, the most expensive paid app in the top 20 was Instapaper at $4.99, compared to the Politics & Current Events category in iBooks, where he recorded that 19 out of the top 20 sell for at least $4.99.
Clearly, the public is willing to – and does – pay more for content in eBooks than it does in apps. That fact should encourage any serious news business to take a serious look at eBooks. But what about volume? That’s where I couldn’t find reliable data comparing sales in the app store versus sales of eBooks. But it’s clear from the pricing that a news organisation would need to sell many times more apps than eBooks for apps to have better sales revenue, given the higher price points routinely supported in eBook stores.
“Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy,” includes an introductory essay by the newspaper’s executive editor Bill Keller, where he explains the paper’s role in the release of documents. An excerpt of that can be found here.
It will also include profiles of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and analyses from NYT correspondents of the documents in the book, which will reprint the full text of all the cables and war logs published on the NYT’s Web site, as well as an additional 27 cables selected for the book.
The e-book will be available from Monday (31 January) and an excerpt of Keller’s essay will be published in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday, his first piece as columnist for the magazine.
Earlier this month the Guardian announced it would be publishing its own book detailing its partnership with Assange.
As online publishers seek new ways of making money from digital news, Robert Niles suggests that news outlets could benefit from using the e-book rental model.
Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Niles suggests they should capitalise on a model which he says has grown by 71 per cent in the last seven years in the US, especially when it comes to publishing in-depth journalism.
Every year, some top newspaper enterprise reporting projects end up as books. What if some newsrooms flipped the development cycle, and initiated some of their more extensive enterprise reporting projects as e-books, available for sale or for rent?
(…) That makes sense to me. Even as my consumption of news online has sated my appetite for the commodity news I can find in a printed newspaper, I still keep buying books and magazines for longer, more detailed narratives. I happily pay for that content in print because I can’t find an alternative that’s better or cheaper (or both) online.