Last September, I wrote about the lessons association publishers could learn from Tina Brown’s Daily Beast. At the time, the site had announced its plans to publish shorter-form content, first as e-books and then in print (paperback), all on an accelerated schedule.
This week, the Daily Beast published its first e-book (Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America). It plans to release at least two more such books this year, all on much faster schedules than is customarily the case in book publishing.
In an interview with GalleyCat, Brown talked about the digital-first strategy as one that “seeds the interest” in the book. Contrast that approach with the reluctance of trade book publishers to support simultaneous release of digital and print (hardcover) editions.
Earlier this week, Kassia Krozser, writing at Booksquare, spoke directly about the market impact of not offering what readers want, when they want it. Availability, format and price drive her purchase behaviors.
With simultaneous release of multiple formats, mainstream publishers fear cannibalization or price erosion, and they may be right. But as the Daily Beast points out, if you don’t build a new model yourself, someone else is more than willing to do it around you.