Random House expands e-book series for long-form journalism

byNicole Martinelli
Jun 20, 2011 in Digital Journalism

Today's newspaper may be tomorrow's fish wrap, but one U.S. publisher hopes to give long-form journalism a little more staying power with e-books.

Random House announced expansion plans for the Vintage Digital Brain Shots imprint, launched in 2010. Five new titles will hit digital devices July 28. The titles, all specially commissioned and written by journalists, are 10,000 words long and sell for GBP£2.99 (about US$4.80).

On offer are hot-button topics people want to read about now: "Tahrir: 18 Days of Grace" by Nariman Youssef; "The Debt Delusion" by Mehdi Hassan; "The Revolution Road" by Peter Beaumont; "Digital Activism or Slack-tivism?" by Tom Chatfield and "Kettled Youth" by Guardian reporter Dan Hancox.

"The market for the series would be those who enjoy reading quality narrative non-fiction, in magazines such as Granta and the New Yorker, as well as younger readers attracted by the shorter length," said Random House digital editor Dan Franklin, speaking at the inaugural Futurebook Innovation Workshop.

This is the latest venture to transform journalism investigations into book form. Start up Byliner made a splash pre-launch in April 2011 with its first title, an exposé of Nobel Peace nominee Greg Mortenson called "Three Cups of Deceit" by award-winning author Jon Krakauer.

Byliner had the book ready for Kindle within days of a 60 Minutes report on Mortenson's alleged misuse of charity funds. Byliner sells currently sells "singles" (long-form journalism articles) such as "Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan" by William T. Vollmann for prices ranging from $2.99 - $4.99.

What do you think: can e-books help spread long-form journalism?

Via Futurebook