Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another kind of e-book

Yesterday, I heard this story about news organizations selling their own e-books on the WBUR program Here and Now. Basically, some news organizations- television, print and web- are compiling the stories that fall under one topic into an e-book. Examples of topics have already included Osama bin Laden, James "Whitey" Bulger and a review of Apple's newest operating system. I can think of others that might be used under the same model: election coverage, budget negotiations, and topics in natural science or history.

Although I like paper and don't think we should be looking at digital technology as a replacement for books, I see the appeal of this approach. While some news websites already have some excellent topics sites- I'm thinking in particular of Times Topics on the New York Times site- a more extensive narrative would make it worth spending $3 on.

My quick thoughts:

1) I think Carroll is spot on when he describes e-books as "impulse buys".

2) How well could this work for some blogs that are out there, whether they're fiction, how-to or narratives?

3) I'm not the target audience, but I will say that while I can see the appeal of using this for an extensive software review or a historical topic, I wouldn't buy this for something like the Bulger story or Facebook. Those stories aren't "over" yet, and I'd hate to feel like I'd have to spend even more money to get the latest and greatest. Those impulse buys can add up.