Hey, Journalists. It’s Time to Publish eBooks!Posted on November 22nd, 2010 No comments
Some of you may have heard that I’m now running a startup called BookBrewer that makes it easy for people to create and publish eBooks that can be sold right next to John Grisham or Norah Jones. The project grew out of my Knight News Challenge Printcasting project. It has the same “anyone can be a publisher” message, but with a different output.
We also now power the eBook creation service for Borders called Borders Get Published: http://borders.bookbrewer.com.
Borders and BookBrewer are interested in promoting all quality content that comes through this co-branded service. Given my jouralism background, I’ve been telling Borders that news organizations have a a lot of good “bookable” content that people would buy if it were presented in eBook format, including:
- Multipart investigative news packages.
- Collections of stories and photos about major events, such as big disasters, elections, sports events and the like.
- “News you can use,” such as financial advice and car-buying tips.
- Columnists who have a following and/or blogs that could be brought together and sold as a book. I point to this collection of hiking guides from a former Boulder Daily Camera columnist as an example.
- Collections of celebrity interviews, biographies and even celebrity obituaries.
Borders is now promoting Get Published in e-mails that reach tens of millions each week, as well as on its Web site. One of my favorite things to be able to say about this job that I’ve created for myself is that I have the ability to recommend content for Borders to feature. They’re actually asking me for suggestions, but they want to know that it came through their Get Published service.
So I have two questions for journalists:
- What type of content are you aware of that newspapers or non-profit news organizations have that could be packaged and resold a book — especially an on-demand eBook?
- What specific news organization-provided content are you aware of that you would love to see as a book?
And then there’s the question that I’m NOT asking, which is the inevitable “Why would anyone buy content that’s available for free online?” That’s the wrong question to ask because the fact is that the eBook market is exploding right now. People are buying all kinds of content as books, even content from Twitter feeds like “Sh*t My Dad Says.” If you don’t believe me, here are the stats: http://www.idpf.org/doc_library/industrystats.htm
eBooks are a great opportunity for news organizations, and as a previous News Challenge winner nothing would make me happier than to see some news organizations and especially freelance writers use BookBrewer to fund their great journalism. It’s also a great opportunity to shift the paid-content debate away from paywalls (which I still think are a terrible idea) and toward a paid-content model that is already working. We have the power to harness the energy from that decade-long debate and refocus it on a proven model.