Wednesday, 14th September 2011
Last week the Huffington Post joined the growing ranks of news organisations to enter the eBook market, with many publishing short books or eSingles. In fact the eSingles or instant eBooks market is a publishing trend that has grown from strength to strength this summer.
As paidContent reported, Huffpo is releasing two titles, one repackaged – or repurposed, the term the industry is using – i.e. compiled from content already published on the Huffpo site, while the other title is an original book. Other organisations jumping on the bandwagon are The Guardian, the Daily Beast, Politico, the New York Times and the Cosmopolitan. Unsurprisingly, The Guardian is entering the fray with an eSingle on the News International phone hacking scandal – a story it broke. The paper is referring to the book as “a detailed guide”, with the background story, repurposed articles and analysis.
The type of content produced by these publishers varies: in most cases the books produced consist of bundled stories on one topic. Open Secrets by the New York Times, for example is a collection of all stories on the WikiLeaks cables as reported by the NYT, along with analysis by NYT reporters. Other publishers, notably the Huffington Post, intend to publish short eBooks (of around 150 pages) with content and commentary on topics currently debated, which have not already been published on the Huffpo site.
Publishers see the increase in these types of eBooks as an additional platform for writers to gain visibility and to monetise their work. In addition, publishers are protecting themselves against the increasing phenomenon of content farms producing eBooks from plagiarised content, as reported by LiveWire here.
Some potential customers of eSingles may be forgiven for wondering why we should pay for this information when most of it is readily available for free on the web. Well, as all information professionals know, the value of information is not just in the content, but in how it is packaged. I can see how some of this material could be of benefit to business information users. For a guide to what else is available in this market, read this recent paidContent article.
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