Majority of people who read news now get it on handheld devices

Pew Internet
More than half of Americans who regularly read news get it on handheld digital devices, according to new research. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found 54 percent of news-reading adults turn to cell phones, tablets or e-readers (question 23). There’s good news for writers: “41% of tablet owners and 35% of e-reader owners said they were reading more since the advent of e-content.”

The main focus of the Pew survey was on e-books and how Americans are embracing them. A few interesting facts: Read more


Ownership of e-readers and tablets nearly doubled over the holidays

Pew Internet
Almost a third of U.S. adults now own a tablet or an e-reader, after a huge spike from the holiday gift season. A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that the percentage of ownership for tablets and e-readers increased identically — to 19 percent in January from only 10 percent in December. The number owning one or both grew to 29 percent from 18 percent in December. Read more


How would a split affect Barnes & Noble, Nook business?

Barnes & Noble is exploring whether to spin off or sell its Nook e-book and e-reader business line, according to paidContent and others.

What would that mean? It would separate the fast-growing Nook business (up about 70 percent annually and expected to total $1.5 billion this year) from Barnes & Noble’s struggling bricks-and-mortar stores and hardback distribution business.

The Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble costs $249.

Consumers might see it as a good thing, alleviating their concerns about investing in proprietary e-books and devices from a company with an uncertain financial future.

For the company, however, the strategy is questionable. CEO William Lynch says it’s about unlocking “substantial value in what we’ve built with our Nook business in only two years.” Industry analysts are less certain. Read more


Three trends from 2011 that will reshape digital news in 2012

If you’re like me, by now you’ve read more than enough uninspired recaps of what happened in 2011 or wild guesses at what’s in store for 2012. So here’s something a little different.

I looked back at the world of digital journalism to find just a few trends and ideas that started small in 2011 and will grow larger in 2012. Here’s what I found.

1. A story is more than one writer’s words

This year will be the last when the word “story” referred almost exclusively to a single stream of words written by a single author.

Storify started testing in 2010, but the revolutionary storytelling tool launched publicly in April 2011 and won this year’s grand prize in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. Read more


In the year of the e-book, 5 lessons from — and for — news organizations

Mark 2011 as the year news organizations discovered e-books.

Sure, Time Magazine tried one back in 2010, but this year at least 10 other newspapers, magazines or news websites have published at least 17 electronic-only books seeking bigger audiences and longer lives for their greatest stories. Many more are coming.

I analyzed those 18 e-books to study their topics, prices and strategies. And I talked with people from Vanity Fair, which published three e-books this year and is planning more, and the Los Angeles Times, which just published its first and expects up to 10 over the next year.

Here are five lessons so far about using e-books for news.

Shorten the production cycle

The most talked-about book chronicling the 2008 presidential election — “Game Change” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin — was published in January 2010.

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Huffington Post publishes its first e-book, with plans for more

The Huffington Post breaks into the e-book business today with “A People’s History of the Great Recession,” based on reporter Arthur Delaney’s blogging about economic hardship.

With this, HuffPost joins a surge of news organizations that are tapping into their staff expertise and troves of published material for relatively quick and inexpensive e-books. A few examples:

A People’s History of the Great Recession tells personal stories of economic hardship brought on by the recession.

The fact that The Huffington Post is among these pioneers in repurposing its content for e-books is especially significant for the organization’s reputation, Delaney told me. Read more

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The cover of one of the Boston Globe's ebooks on Whitey Bulger.

News orgs publish ebooks to capitalize on trending news, archived content

As more people buy e-readers and download books through digital stores, some news organizations are finding they can capitalize on their expertise and archives of information by quickly publishing e-books related to big stories.

The cover of one of the Boston Globe’s ebooks on Whitey Bulger.

The Washington Post and ABC News each generated books about the killing of Osama bin Laden shortly after the news broke. And the Boston Globe released a three-part ebook collection on Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger following his arrest after 16 years on the run from 19 murder charges.

The Globe has long been producing “instabooks” in print, often commemorating achievements of local sports teams. When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in June, the Globe had such a book out in stores after only a few days. Read more


E-reader ownership doubles in six months, tablet growth slows

Pew Internet & American Life Project
The percentage of U.S. adults who own e-readers such as the Kindle or Nook doubled to 12 percent in May from only 6 percent in November, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The rate of growth surpassed tablet computers (such as the iPad, Xoom and Galaxy), which grew to 8 percent, up only 3 points in the same time period. Three percent of adults owned both types of devices. The survey also includes demographic data about device owners.

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Will College E-Textbooks Catch On?

On Friday, something sort of big happened. McGraw-Hill launched four of its biggest selling college textbooks in e-text form for the iPad, meaning you can download the whole book or just chapters. The e-reader version comes with interactive graphics and videos.

Digital textbooks are projected to account for just 1 percent of the higher education textbook market this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, but that would be twice as much as last year, and the future looks bright.

The Journal reports

“Prices will start at $2.99 per chapter and $69.99 for entire books, for a limited time. Thereafter, chapters will be $3.99 and books will start at $84.99.

“The Inkling-based e-books make full use of the iPad’s color, video and touch screen. A biology text, for example, offers 3-D views of molecules such as DNA, video lectures, and interactive quizzes. Read more


29 million U.S. consumers to own e-readers in 5 years

A new report from Forrester research predicts nearly 30 million e-readers will be sold in the U.S. by the end of 2015. That is a significant increase over the 3.7 million in use at the beginning of this year.

Analyst James L. McQuivey writes that the dedicated e-reader market is under pressure from tablet PCs such as the iPad, but aggressive pricing and the overall size of the book reading market will continue to drive sales.

“By 2015, we forecast that 29.4 million US consumers will own e-readers. We recommend that strategists planning the next wave of e-readers diversify the portfolio of e-reading devices to secure their ownership of the reading experience, offering devices that range from stripped-down $49 pocket readers to full-color touch readers that erase the gap between today’s e-readers and tablet PCs.”
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