It's time for periodical publishers to explore ways to tap the potential of e-book technology, says Vin Crosbie, managing partner for Digital Deliverance, a business strategy consultancy based in Greenwich, CT. Crosbie chairs the E-Book Newsstand Association formed in January 2001 to help them do just that.
Consumers read more magazines and newspapers each year than books, yet periodical publishers are less involved in producing content for e-books distribution channels than traditional book publishers, Crosbie notes. E-books can allow periodical publishers to combine some of the advantages of print with the advantages of electronic media, he adds. For example, with no click through, display advertising in an e-book is more like a print ad, because readers who view the ad can click through and leave the site. Automatic delivery of blocks of content, which mimics traditional print publishing, is also more neutral to e-book technologies than to the page-by-page loading featured in Web sites.
There's a lot to learn about best ways to integrate periodical publishing cycles with e-book content production and sales operations, such as how to handle classified ads online, how to replicate the newsstand sales process and how to handle single-copy back-issue sales, says Crosbie, who expects that periodical publishers are likely to maintain Web sites even as they explore e-books.
The birth of a new initiative
At its first meeting in February, EBNA elected officers and created working groups to catalog the issues. Major publishers included among the founding board of directors include members from Reader's Digest, Barnes & Noble.com and Thomson Multimedia.
-Rose Blessing is a freelance writer based in Voorhees, NJ.