In a previous blog post, I debated aloud the merits of value-added e-books, questioning a consumer’s interest in paying a few more dollars for an e-book that contained videos, puzzles or whatnot. Also, given the current scrum among platform and device providers, was there a clear path toward creating enhanced content? What never dawned on me was that enhanced content could also refer to material that was thoughtfully abridged from its original source asset to create a small, snack-size wedge of editorial content that was perfectly suited to a generation of on-the-go business consumers.
Enhanced may be the wrong term to characterize a new content effort from Pearson’s FT Press, a leading business publisher. FT Press Delivers will offer two products, Elements, which will be condensed versions of existing material from leading business authors and Shorts, original material from some of the same sources with contributions from New Word City, an outside editorial services firm. FT Press will experiment with various pricing models and content formats, but at launch Elements are 1,000 to 2,000 words, and Shorts are 4,000 to 5,000 words Elements are priced at $1.99, Shorts at $2.99
FT Press truly gets the “content over device” concept and its willingness to experiment with new content forms in an effort to create what it calls a “content vending machine.” Such an effort is to be applauded but is not unexpected from Pearson (co-owner of Safari Books). The company was among the first major publishers to massively digitize its archives dating back to 1992. The FT, a leading global business brand competing head on with the Wall Street Journal, realizes that its target business customer was one that is willing to spend for information that has value to their careers and businesses. It’s reasonable to expect all of Pearson’s division to move boldly into the multi-platform content asset business, not only in micro form but also in expanded forms that will include sight and sound.