The Toronto Star is testing the e-book market with a dedicated subscription model. Launched in November 2012, Star Dispatches is the brainchild of the Toronto Star’s marketing department. The Star already has more than 20 titles of long-form journalism to choose from — ranging from investigations, in-depth health reporting, special reports on events and more. It’s labeled as “a new perspective on a news story.” E-books are produced every week for subscribers at the price of $1 each.
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Sandy MacLeod, vice president of consumer marketing at the Toronto Star, said their market research showed it took an “incredible amount of marketing” to produce single-copy e-books that generally sold 100 to 300 downloads at $4.99 each. The math just didn’t work out to make a viable business case, he said.
“So we had the thought that, what if we turned this model around a little bit and turned it into a subscription model?”
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Subscribers are charged $4.33 plus taxes monthly and receive an email each week with a link to download the newest e-book.
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Any reporter in the Toronto Star’s newsroom can pitch to pen an e-book. While it has been mostly feature writers who have had books produced so far, there are titles coming from all genres soon, said Alison Uncles, editorial director for Star Dispatches. Reporters can work on the e-book while also managing their regular duties, but in some cases, up to three weeks of their schedules have been cleared for working exclusively on the e-book.
Link to the rest at MediaShift