ONA Toronto: eBooks: The new journalism frontier?
In the last few years, more publications have begun to experiment with repackaging their content or commissioning new stories as e-books. The rise of outlets such as the Atavist and Byliner, not to mention publishing platforms such as the Kindle and Kobo, have also given freelance writers a way to get their stories to an audience.
How should newspapers, magazines and other outlets approach e-books? How do traditional publications get these products into the hands of readers? How can freelance writers and staff journalists benefit from these new storytelling and product formats? We’ve invited four people familiar with various aspects of e-publishing to discuss this new frontier for journalism.
Stuart Thompson is a multimedia editor at The Globe and Mail and part of the Globe’s Data Bureau. He worked on that paper’s first iBook, “Trial On Ice,” a multimedia look at the historic 1972 Summit Series between Russia and Canada.
In 2009, Derek Finkle founded the Canadian Writers Group, an agency that represents more than 100 of Canada’s top independent writers and journalists. The Canadian Writers Group began publishing e-books in early 2012, beginning with Russell Smith’s memoir Blindsided. In June, CWG published Finding Karla by Paula Todd, the first Canadian non-fiction work to go to #1 on the Kindle Singles platform. This January, CWG published Deborah Coyne’s memoir, Unscripted, which was excerpted on the front page of the Toronto Star (but not online!) over two weekend days.
Nathan Maharaj is Kobo’s director Of merchandising, AKA “head bookseller.” He’s worked with publishers and retailers in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. on the pricing and marketing of e-books as well as building relationships with Kobo.
Chris Frey is the editor in chief of Hazlitt, an online magazine and electronic publishing imprint of Random House Canada. Hazlitt recently published three original e-books, including The Gift Of Ford, Toronto journalist Ivor Tossell’s look at Mayor Rob Ford and You Aren’t What You Eat, writer Steven Poole’s look at foodie culture.