Many publishers we have talked with this year understand the import of making their content digitally available, but don’t know how to go about it. Low ebook prices dominate the market, so costs to convert and distribute will not be immediately earned back through ebook sales. So what’s a publisher to do?
With a little creativity, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has found a viable – and indeed popular – solution to this problem. Writer Curt Brown’s In the Footsteps of Little Crow, a six-part digital series narrating the events of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, combines four months of research by Brown with infographics, photo, and video. The result is an engaging and thorough account of a crucial moment in U.S. history – an account that’s quickly ascending the New York Times nonfiction ebook bestseller list (as of August 24, it was at #13).
Despite its low ebook price of just $2.99, In the Footsteps of Little Crow has been a major success for the Star-Tribune. “[The Star-Tribune] was in bankruptcy a couple years ago,”says Brown. “I got calls and emails from people saying, ‘This restores my faith in newspapers.’ People are impressed that a newspaper can let a reporter have four months to do something special and tell them about their history.” More than that, we are impressed with the Star-Tribune’s innovative take on a digital historical series. Hats off!
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