from the books-now-limited-to-140-pages dept
It's an interesting experiment because it begins to grasp that digital goods can be used both to promote content and also to assess the market for the related tangible/scarce goods. On top of that, the shorter publishing cycle will likely be more engaging to readers who won't have to wait very long for new books to come out. However, there are some possible pitfalls, too. If the e-books are too expensive (or poor quality because they're written in a rush), then obviously the promotional aspect of the digital content won't be there. They could also soon discover that their target audience is too tuned into digital goods, and the audience that buys printed books doesn't overlap much with Daily Beast readers (so they'd need to promote on a different channel). But at least the publishers won't be stuck with a ton of printed books in inventory, so the downside risk seems lower than traditional publishing. And, actually, that reduced risk might be the key part of this publishing plan. When digital distribution costs are minimal, the strategy of "throwing everything at the wall to see if it sticks" becomes more viable. The Daily Beast's website already leverages free content with news and opinion articles, so if it can also offer unique content with a quicker turnaround time, the reason to buy its books could surface as more and more "good" authors are discovered and recommended -- and commissioned to produce new content.