New Model Journalism

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Archive for the ‘E-books’ Category

From frontline to publication – the rise of news e-books

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

It’s comforting, if you’re in the words business, to remember that ‘crisis’ denotes ‘turning point’, a phase of breakdown prior to resolution, as well as the more common meaning of a bad time. And now, with the line between book publishing and journalism becoming increasingly blurred, comes evidence that new opportunties for journalists are opening up in the expanding world of e-books.

This month brings the latest development in this emerging trend, in the form of a new initiative launched by non-profit news outlet ProPublica and digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media. In the partnership, ProPublica is releasing another tranche of its investigative work in e-book form, including its Presidential Pardons series, material that was originally published in The Washington Post.

The organisation joins a growing number of US publishers who are exploiting the relative cheapness and ease of digital publication to bring in-depth, long-form journalism to a wider audience.

Last October US publishers Politico opened an online bookstore in partnership with publishers Random House, allowing titles to be sold through retailers such as Amazon. The titles, says editor-in-chief John Harris, offer readers a combination of ‘great minds and writers in political journalism and publishing’.

A similar venture is being developed by Random House and Collca in the Brain Shots series, covered previously on this site.

Publishing journalism as e-books allows publishers to venture into territory such as last summer’s riots that were hitherto off-limits because the long lead-in times of traditional publishing meant that, by the time the more newsy books came out, the moment had passed.

Yet, while the attractions of the new model are obvious, it does present challenges, not least the question of how to legitimise charging for material that has already been published. One obvious selling point is the convenience of having material brought together and edited into a single format, in the way that newspapers and authors have often served up anthologies of particularly successful columns in book form.

But the e-book, lacking the tangible virtue of a physical object, has to do more. So the new publishers are seeking out extra content like videos, maps and interviews with journalists, to add value to the product. One such ‘enhanced book’ is Behind the Beautiful Forevers, in which Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo follows the child-residents of Bombay slums as they scrape a living by sorting and selling rubbish. The e-book package includes video footage, shot by the children themselves, over three years of reporting.

Yet, as the new model gets more established, journalists may increasingly ask themselves whether they wouldn’t be better off by cutting out the middle man. Just as more and more authors are concluding they are now able to do for themselves what only a traditional publisher used to do – and with less cost and delay – the next phase may see journalists going it alone.

One example to watch is Marc Herman, a freelance journalist whose self-published book on Libya has been hitting the top few per cent of sales in Kindle Singles. In this interview about the nuts and bolts of the experiment, Herman reveals himself to be a model of the new entrepreneurial hack, prepared not just to go out and get the story, but to bring it to market too.

The next frontier in long-form journalism may be a lonely, but exciting one.

Written by Alex

February 20th, 2012 at 4:03 am

Posted in E-books,News,US

New download mag for Northern Ireland’s community sector

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Report by Tim Dawson.

With 27,000 people working in the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland, it is easy to see why Brian Pelan thinks there is space for a magazine that addresses their interests.  With the first edition of View now available to download, he is about to discover whether his hunch was a good one.

After a newspaper career of more than two decades, Pelan’s job of the past six years on the Belfast Telegraph was outsourced.  So, inspired by a friend’s publication, Union Post, which serves Irish trades unionists, the Belfast native set to work creating View – a new free-to-download, digital publication.

The magazine is laid up as though it was a print publication and is them distributed either as a downloadable pdf, or can be viewed on the Yudu site.

After months of meetings with sector representatives, showing them a dummy, the first edition came out last week. Pelan is pleased with the results: “It was on deadline, and I thought that it looked good, and to date the feedback has been fantastic”, he says.

He is running the magazine as a business, but received financial support from the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council as well as backing from a Dragon’s Den-style initiative run by Belfast City Council. “I have enough money for three or four issues, but for the magazine to be sustainable in the long term, I will have to find advertising or sponsorship”, he explains.

He continues to receive some ‘pro bono’ support from freelance journalists, but hopes to start paying them as his revenue swells.

He is selling the advertising himself – a wholly new experience having previously worked as a sub-editor and newspaper designer – but he is encouraged by the initial level of support.  “If we can get in £2,000 a month, then the magazine is sustainable and will pay me a basic wage.  If we can get in £3,000 a month, then we can start paying other people to undertake some of the work”.

Less straightforward, he concedes, is getting the product to the audience and being able to prove that they are reading it.  To date Pelan is looking to grow his Facebook page and Twitter stream to show the level of support that he has, and he is also now distributing the download address via bit.ly, which gives him a basic analytic.

He also hopes that by creating a high profile for himself in the voluntary and community sector, View will act as a shop front for other work when organisations are looking for a media professional.

Pelan’s identification of his market looks like a smart move – he is serving a sector that is large, and distinct from its counterparts south of the border and across the Irish sea.  Whether he will attract enough readers to be able to stitch up the advertising market, remains to be seen. On the basis of his first edition, he certainly looks like he has a decent chance.

 

Written by Tim Dawson

February 13th, 2012 at 4:57 am

Amazon’s bid to run libraries, and how authors might benefit

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Report by Tim Dawson.

Public Lending Right – the scheme that pays authors when their books are borrowed from public libraries – has long been a life-saver for impecunious scribblers. Little wonder then that when, earlier this month, the government announced its intention cut the benefit paid per book issue from 6.25 pence to 6.05 pence that authors howled in dismay.

Regrettable as this move is, could there be other ways by which the library model might benefit creators of books? Amazon certainly thinks so.  It is the major shareholder in Lovefilm.com, which claims to have 1.5m members who pay a monthly subscription to hire dvds by mail to watch screened films.  Of far more interest to authors, however, is the Kindle Owners Lending Library, launched in the USA in November and expected to come to the UK in the near future.

Membership is based on Amazon’s ‘prime member’ scheme, which costs $79 a year in the US and £49 in the UK.  For UK subscribers, the benefits from membership are limited to free-at-the-point-of-sale express delivery. On the other side of the Atlantic, members can ‘borrow’ up to one title a month on their Kindles. Over 75,000 titles are available to borrow, a large number of which have been ‘self-published’ via Kindle Direct Publishing.

A monthly royalty is paid to authors based on the number of times that the book has been ‘borrowed’. Those authors who grant Amazon the exclusive right to publish their works, also benefit from an additional ‘KDP Select’ bonus, which could see a book that was borrowed 1,500 times netting $7,500 in lending royalties alone. In creating this bonus, Amazon is clearly trying to establish itself as the first choice for self-publishers.

Launched in December, the additional fund is already causing at least some authors to celebrate.  Carolyn McCray, for example, writes ‘paranormal romance novels’ and earned $8,250 from the KPD Select Fund in the last month of 2011. Rachel Yu, a 16-year-old author of childrens’ books, earned $6,200.  And they were by no means the only success stories – more than 295,000 KDP select titles were borrowed from Kindle’s library in December, its first full month of operation.

‘Lending’ royalties have averaged around 30% of these authors’ total royalties from Kindle. And those authors who have consented to their works being available for loan as well as for sale appear to have boosted the number of copies sold by an average of 26% compared to those who did not participate in the library scheme.

Hopeful though it is to identify a fresh source of income that should benefit authors, of course, the success of virtual libraries can only be another nail in the coffin of actual libraries. As more and more regular book readers find other means of satisfying their habits and thereby abandon municipal facilities, the case for the latter will inevitably be weakened. Whether Amazon’s royalties prove to be any more dependable than Pubic Lending Right, which the government appear able to vary on a whim, remains to be seen.

 

Written by Tim Dawson

January 23rd, 2012 at 4:15 am

Posted in E-books,US

Will the tablets save long-form journalism?

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The rise of tablet computers will usher in a new golden age for longform journalism – or so the homily goes.  The web might be good for soundbites of information, but with the easy-to-carry, instant-on technology of iPads, Kindles and the like, magazine-length features will find a new audience.

To feed this hoped-for demand, a welter of applications, websites and feeds have sprung up, all hoping in various ways to provide the wrap-around format within which distinguished acts of reporting will be consumed.  Indeed, today the selection of formats is sufficiently bewildering to cause some would-be self-publishers to retreat to the known world of income-free blogging for fear of committing to the wrong thing.

Kindle Direct Publishing is the Amazon’s inhouse self-publishing program.  Documents in common formats such at Microsoft Word can be converted into books at a mouse click, with authors able to set their own price.  They then receive either a 35% royalty, or a 70% royalty, less a ‘delivery charge’ based on the size of the book.  There is, for example, a 10 pence charge for the download of a 1mb book.

The number of eBook sales in the UK rose by 623% between January and June last year (according to research by the Publishers’ Association). Its research suggests that more than 12 million eBook units sold last year, with a combined value significantly in excess of £100m – so clearly there are readers out there who are willing to lay down serious money to fill up their devices.

One journalist who has experienced this, via the Kindle model, is Joseph Bottum, whose ‘Dakota Christmas’ hit the top three of Amazon’s non-fiction eBook charts in the run up to Christmas.  After losing his job on a Manhattan-based Christian magazine, he returned to his native North Dakota and wrote freelance magazine articles.  An editor at Amazon, who was looking to promote their ‘singles’ market remembered a piece that Bottum wrote about family Christmases some years earlier and persuaded Bottum to expand the piece to 7,500 words.  Priced at £2 per download, it became an unexpected hit this festive season.

According to Enders Analysis, Amazon accounts for around 80% of all UK eBook sales – in Spring 2011 it was offering 720,000 digital titles – but there is split available between conventional eBooks and shorter pieces.   How much luck any of its rivals are having is hard to say – but there are plenty of them.

Byliner.com, for example, commissions pieces of between 10,000 and 35,000 words and launched towards the end of 2011.  Its stated policy is that it does not publish fiction, but it launched with Amy Tan’s first piece of fiction for six years, priced at $2.99.  It appears alongside a selection of longer magazine-style articles by established US authors and by using Facebook as a log on, combines viral recommendations with a sales channel.

Atavist.net ploughs a similar furrow – commissioning work in the same way that a conventional publisher would, and even paying modest advances.  The revenue cut is then 50:50 after their sales channel (generally either Amazon or Apple, each of whom takes 30% of sale price).  According to David Wolman, whose 10,500 piece The Instigators, about those involved in the overthrow of Egypt’s President Moubarak, Atavist published, sales have been good.  Unlike Byliner, which prides itself on publishing words only, Atavist features combine pictures, information graphics and illustrations.  All can be switched off for those who prefer text only, but, as Wolman tells it, the format affords a richer, more original kind of storytelling.

In addition to actual publishers, there are numerous services which allow tablet users to save longer pieces onto their devices for later consumption, Longform.org, Instapaper and Longreads among them.

It remains to be seen whether a new golden age for longer journalism is truly dawning.  Given the number of people who, at the same time, appear to be willing this to be so, however, at the very least it is set to enjoy a few more moments in the sun.

 

Written by Tim Dawson

January 3rd, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Posted in E-books

Cycling polemicist strikes viral paydirt

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Case study by Tim

Writing his Bike To Work book, Carlton Reid’s intention was to produce a conventional printed tome.  A trade publisher of 25 years experience, his business model was simple – sell sufficient advertisements to pay for the book and then give away the product.   Creating an eBook was an afterthought.   Nevertheless, in the two years since it was published, it has been downloaded more than 350,000 times and generated around £25,000 worth of advertising revenue.

Reid wrote, edited, designed and laid-up the book and took all but ten of the photographs.  “I am self-taught in publishing in the round”, he explains.  He also identified the advertisers, but the deals were all closed by his long-time business associate – his father.  “Being one-person removed from the selling keeps me (editorially) clean”.

When the book took longer to complete than he expected, he put the finished product online first – it went viral, and print was abandoned (save for a print-on-demand edition).

The book has appeared in many versions – some being distributed by third parties like the London Cycle Campaign.  But digital distribution is all though Issuu, the Danish self-publishing platform.  Reid generates a final pdf and then loads in on to Issuu’s server.  Conversion into a format that can be read on computers and tablets such at the iPad and the Kindle happens automatically.

“I was one of the first UK publishers on Issuu and they did publicise the book at first, which was a great help.  It is still the best platform, as far as I am concerned, and everything they do is free”, he says.  One of the many appeals of their service is the diagnostics.  Of course they show how many times the book has been downloaded, but they also track how far into the book people read.

“There is a huge spike in the first ten pages, as you would expect”, says Reid.  “But you can also see how many people have actually opened up every page.  You can show advertisers that, say 15,000 people have viewed your advert.  That is something that no newspaper can do, and I think that it has actually converted a lot of our advertisers to eBooks as an advertising vehicle.”

So successful has the Bike To Work been, that Reid has turned down conventional publishers who offered to take on his next venture.  To be published in the early Spring, Roads Were Not Built For Cars will be a history of roads and road improvements in the decades before the motor car.  As with his previous book, Reid’s intentions are more polemical than commercial.  Nevertheless, the early signs are that he has found another successful niche.  An eight-page sampler has been downloaded 11,000 times – in part generated by an energetic Twitter campaign.

Although he has been in business his entire working life – he set up and subsequently sold the trade magazine Bike Biz – Reid’s philosophy is decidedly non commercial.  “I don’t factor in my own time at all, because I enjoy what I do and I would be doing it even if it did not make a bean”, he says.  He is by no means the first inadvertent capitalist – but unlike many he seems quite content to pursue his own projects while his commercial interests thrive in an apparently parallel universe.

 

Written by Tim Dawson

December 19th, 2011 at 8:45 am

Moving to a new beat – online music tutorials flourish after band bookings bomb

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Case study by Tim Dawson

Two-and-a-half years after fully focusing on producing online bass-guitar tutorials, Paul Wolfe is earning around £70,000 a year from his business.  Approximately 500 subscribers pay $127 annual subscription for his weekly magazine and instructive video, other eBook products sell hundreds of copies at prices generally between $100 and $200.  Indeed, so confident has Wolfe become of his methods that he now offers consulting services for those hoping to emulate his success.

It is a dramatic turn around from 2007 when 48 year old Wolfe’s party-band business was hit hard by the recession.   But while his tutorials have taken off in ways that he did not anticipate, a great deal of work goes into his product.  He estimates that he devotes three full days a week producing new material for students.

How-to-play-bass.com started life when a friend’s child asked for help mastering the bass.  Wolfe, who has earned his living as a musician since abandoning a career as a surveyor in his 20s and is based in Wimbledon, in south west London, started recording lessons, which he posted on Youtube.  This mushroomed into a free weekly newsletter, which he gave away in the hope that he might sell some allied eBooks.  As his list of subscribers climbed towards 4,000, though, Wolfe realised that not enough of them were actually converting to paying customers.

“From the moment when Lehman Brothers when bust, our phone stopped ringing.  Eighty per cent of my band’s customers were corporate and from that moment on I realised that I had to make the internet business work, or rob a bank”, he says.

What he calls his ‘genius feature’ was the product of a happy accident, however.  On early tutorials, which then and now he creates in his home studio with a single, self-operated camera, he explained how to play the notes and played along with a recording of the song.  These were caught by Youtube’s copyright filter and deleted.  To get around this, Wolfe stated to create two qualities of tutorial.  On the free-to-view variant, he talks viewers through the notes and techniques, and plays along to a metronome.  A far more detailed, subscriber-only version, includes playing along with a proper recording and a more detailed instructions.

By adding progressively to the song-tutorial videos, he draws customers in through search engines and then starts to attract them towards his ‘sales funnel’.  At the moment he attracts around 600 unique visitors to his site a day.  His free weekly newsletter is sent to around 8,000 people and around 500 pay for the 50 page weekly magazine and video lesson.

He undertakes all the web coding and page layout himself, so the only costs to his business are accountancy, web hosting and email management, which cost him around £2,000 a year..  His main website is written in static html, although he says that were he starting again he would use WordPress, for its ease of whole-site revisions.

“I price in dollars because 80% of my market is American”, he says.  “Europeans are used to working in more than one currency in a way that Americans are not.”  Subscribers are offered early deals on other eBooks – he has recently published one on playing in the style of Motown bass players – and some have bought as much as $1,500 worth of product from him.  “It is both a humbling and slightly weird experience to have sold so much”, he reflects.

Needless to say, Wolfe is by no means the only person offering online music tutorials.  Search Youtube for instruction to play the part of a particular instrument on almost any well-known song, and there are plenty of amateur videos.  There are also paid for courses from quite slick providers, such as teachmebassguitar.com, beside which Wolfe’s offering is positively home brew.

His formula works, however, because he has a likable, easy-to-follow manner to camera and, he visibly works very hard to deliver for his audience.  A teenage ambition to write popular fiction has given him an easy facility with words and, although his screen style is low key, he leaves you in no doubt that he knows his stuff and he is passionately committed to passing on his skills.  Whether his sales continue to grow as they have over the past two years remains to be seen, but he seems to be as savvy about his business as he is rhythmically sound when he picks up his guitar.

 

Written by Tim Dawson

November 7th, 2011 at 5:27 am

E-publish and be damned – emerging trends of the digital book economy

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Photo by thekellyscope (Flickr)


Analysis by Alex Klaushofer.

Those trying to follow the changing fortunes of book publishing in the digital revolution have had a tough time of it trying to discern the direction things are taking. But, finally, in the last quarter of this year, a few trends are beginning to emerge.

First fact: the long-predicted shift from physical to digital publishing is gathering pace: according to a survey by FutureBook, independent publishers are predicting that digital sales could account for 15% of sales by the year’s end.

The shift heightens the rather fraught issue of digital royalties which has been dividing authors and publishers since e-books appeared on the scene. Authors, arguing that the removal of printing costs should free up more of the book’s revenues to come back to the creator, have been seeking a cut of 50%, while publishers – maintaining that a fifty-fifty split fails to take into account the true costs of publishing – have tended to offer a maximum of 25%, a rate which has become increasingly standard across the industry.

However, it seems that the gap between the two positions is beginning to narrow, with the Society of Authors reporting that royalties paid out on e-books are increasingly 30-35%, a rise attributed to its general secretary Nichola Solomon to effective lobbying. Meanwhile, there are signs of a similar upwards movement in the US: The Bookseller in August reported that e-royalties were increasingly moving to 30-35%.

The differing perspectives of authors and publishers reflect the widespread ignorance about the new economics of e-publishing. In a clear-eyed breakdown of the costs in June this year, Tom Tivnan points out that the lack of transparency about the financial model underpinning e-books is contributing to the suspicion that publishers may be raking it in. Noting that publishing an e-book involves conversion to digital files and digital warehousing, as well as the usual labour-intensive costs of editing and marketing, he proposes a compromise royalty of 40%.

Part of the reason for publishers’ caginess about costs of e-books may be that, with the market price yet to settle at an agreed point, they don’t yet have a clear idea of the revenues they can generate. Other uncertainties include how far the new format affects what people are most likely to buy to read on-screen. There is some suggestion that popular genres are particularly suited to the medium: the US thriller writer John Locke claims to have made over £375,000 from online publishing this year, for example.

The limitations and opportunities of on-screen reading are also leading publishers to experiment with length, commissioning work written specifically for e-consumption. The idea that people can only absorb bite-sited chunks of information via phone or computer has been beating a retreat in journalism for some time, with longform articles finding a ready audience. Now the publishing world is following suit, with initiatives such as Brain Shots, a series of short monographs aimed at the ‘time-poor’ reader published by Random House,
and Collca, a publisher producing e-books for phone apps that can inform the reader on a given subject in an hour.

It’s easy to see how the lack of transparency about the financial benefits of the e-book, combined with the difficulties besetting traditional publishing and the openess of the digital world is fuelling the newly-respectable trend of self-publishing. Some authors are wondering whether signing up with a traditional publishing house is worth all the bother, with a few established writers such as Stephen Leather taking the indie route online while maintaining a deal with publishers for the physical versions of their books. This kind of pragmatic approach gives authors the possibility of earning royalties of up 70% on Amazon while putting pressure on the publishing world to prove it is genuinely adding value.

And, with the Christmas exchange of e-readers giving a further boost to electronic reading, these trends look certain to accelerate in 2012.

Written by Alex

October 17th, 2011 at 7:08 am

E-publishing provides ‘alternative avenue’ for journalists

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Report by Alex Klaushofer.

Amid all the gloom about the difficulties the digital age have brought both the media and publishing, Dan Franklin is almost Tiggerish about the liberating possibilities of the e-book for journalism.

As digital editor at Random House, Franklin is in the vanguard of a small group of publishers who are developing the e-book as a form – depending on which industry you view it from – of long-form journalism or short-form publishing.

Brain Shots, launched by Random House some fifteen months ago, is a series of five to ten-thousand word monographs which aim to capture the essence of a book for readers who are ‘time poor’ and ‘on the move’, but keen to get up on a subject in an hour or so. Priced at a ‘sweet-spot’ of £2.99, the series has so far included contributions on the student riots by Dan Hancox and international organised crime by Misha Glenny.

‘The idea is that you can start to conceive of projects that normally you feel would be commercial suicide.’ says Franklin. ‘It lets us do more current affairsy-type publishing which are close to the times.’

Clearly aware that speed is industrially-relative, he quickly adds a caveat: ‘I’m not going to pretend that we can do breaking news. We’re working in the in-between space when you don’t want to do the full-on 100 000-word definitive book, but want to do something on a subject in some length, and at some depth.’

With traditional journalism in crisis, he anticipates that the form could provide ‘a solution to a problem’, acting as ‘a service to journalists’ struggling to find outlets for their in-depth work.

And given their facility with social media, it seems that journalists are becoming increasingly attractive to publishers. ‘Freelances are really used to putting themselves out there and getting everything they can,’ says Franklin. ‘There’s a real hunger there. All authors need to be like that.’

So what about the money? Is short-form publishing likely to be a worthwhile avenue for cash-poor journalists?

It’s hard to tell. Beyond saying that authors get the advance-plus-royalty deal traditional to publishing, Franklin is, perhaps understandably, cagey about figures. ‘At the moment we’re not really making much money on Brain Shots,’ he says. ‘We’re going to wait till the end of the year to make a judgement call on whether it’s profitable.’

In a further warning against seeing the new form as a panacea, he adds that digital publishing only saves printing costs by 10%, leaving the publisher to find the usual editorial, production and marketing costs.

While waiting for the numbers to emerge, Random House is concentrating on establishing Brain Shots as a brand in the mind of potential customers. The next series, says Franklin, will feature some ‘headliner names’, with contributions from well-known journalists and a more general topic selection. The series will continue to exploit the zeitgeist, with something on the London riots and a piece on the Egyptian revolution in the pipeline.

Beyond that, Franklin predicts that the new opportunities afforded by the e-book are likely to be short-lived: ‘I think it will settle down and become more rigid and regimented soon, but at the moment everything’s in the mix.’

Written by Alex

September 19th, 2011 at 6:22 am

Niche both a help and hindrance to online start-up Bookbrunch

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Case study by Alex Klaushofer.

When Nicholas Clee and Liz Thomson were casting about for a new job, with full-time staff jobs behind them and freelance opportunities on the wane, a digital solution seemed obvious. Between them, they had over fifty years experience in writing about publishing and the book trade: Clee was a former editor of the Bookseller, while Thomson had edited Publishing News until it folded in July 2008, and both had published widely elsewhere.

So, on Thomson’s suggestion, they joined forces and embarked on a publishing (ad)venture, creating Bookbrunch, a website and daily online newsletter covering the book trade. Nearly three years on, the site is proving a sustainable business which provides a partial living for both of them.

The revenue model was decided from the outset. The site would have a free-to-view blog and opinion section, but readers who wanted access to the daily news would have to become subscribers, paying £99 a year or £55 for six months. It would be supplemented by only a modest amount of advertising.

‘We thought that the only way to make money is through subscriptions. – trade advertising was shrinking fast and there was just two of us doing all the day-to-day work; neither of us was a sales person,’ says Clee.

In the event, the erection of the planned paywall took longer than anticipated, coming some nine months after the site launched in October 2008. By then, it was pretty well established among publishing professionals; Clee and Thomson capitalised on their contacts in the industry, and worked hard, sending ‘lots of emails’ and ‘putting ourselves about a bit’.

It seemed there was room in the market place for a trade publication apart from market leader the Bookseller. Instead of going into direct competition with its rival, with had a 12-strong editorial team, Bookbrunch concentrated on developing a distinctive approach based on its editors’ personalities and particular takes on the industry they had known so long. As a result, the editorial places a strong emphasis on opinion and gossip, running plenty of coverage of the people and events that drive the book trade.

Bookbrunch’s reputation soon translated itself into figures, with 500 of the 5000 people on the mailing list becoming paying subscribers. ‘We’re quite pleased with that, but given the opportunities in the book trade we’re not going to triple that any time soon,’ says Clee. ‘The size of the booktrade is both a help and a hindrance.’

As a result, both partners can draw an income which just about covers the half-time job that the site demands, leaving them free to take on other work – although, as Clee readily admits, there is a perennial danger of the work expanding to fill the entire week – some days they produce over 20 stories, and the site already has an archive of over 9000 articles. But, thanks to a recent partnership with data firm BDS, the more time-consuming, technical tasks have now been farmed out.

Meanwhile, the experience gathered along the way adds to the growing body of evidence that the web, far from killing off the in-depth article, is a hospitable place for long-form journalism; Bookbrunch publishes articles up to 1500 words long.

‘It used to be thought that what people wanted online was short, punchy news stories,’ says Clee, with satisfaction. ‘What we’re discovering is that they actually like opinions, and they like to engage online, so some of the long pieces we run get a good response.’

Written by Alex

July 25th, 2011 at 2:54 am

Readers still love print, survey suggests

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New research into how readers like their journalism suggests that traditional media are holding up well, reports Press Gazette.

The vast majority – 86% – of the two thousand people who responded to a survey conducted by KPMG said they preferred to read material in print form rather than on-screen. Almost 80% had read a newspaper or a magazine over the previous month.

But the ‘media and entertainment barometer study’ had less encouraging results for paywall advocates, with just 2% of people who currently use a website for free admitting they would be prepared to pay for access.

Written by Alex

December 6th, 2010 at 8:01 am