New Media eBooks Done Right

by Matthew Cavnar on

I’ve been a long-time subscriber to food culture daily email Tasting Table (I think I was getting the test-sends) so I’m pleased to see their editorial team produce eBooks as expertly as they do short form emails – it’s like they’re now offering Lobster Thermidor in addition to excellent lobster rolls.

Their most recent eBook — the Sous Chef Series 2011 Recipe Collection — features 12 dishes from established chefs across the country, including the Slanted Door and Blue Hill. It’s a gorgeous title rendered in fixed lay-out for iOS devices and as a PDF. Design aside, it’s a great example of how non-traditional publishers can exploit the new medium of digital books, shipping product efficiently and at a lower cost without sacrificing aesthetics.

We saw three key lessons.

1) Existing Audience

TastingTable has an existing audience in their email subscriber list. Providing them additional value in the form of digital books inspires reader loyalty and establishes a brand, but it also means the book is more likely to be adopted — its audience is eagerly awaiting new content from the creators.

2) Excellent Content = Wider Appeal

The core audience will drive early adoption of the title. Strong content will then inspire strong reviews, encouraging others to try the book. Because you can insert links in digital books, TT can upsell readers to sign up for the email with a non-intrusive, editorially savvy, in-book call-to-action.

3) Strategic Pricing

Crucially, TT has made their eBooks free. They could drive revenue by selling these titles, but the company's core business is email. Making the book free to drive more downloads, expand the brand, and reach new marketplaces and potential subscribers is a savvy move.

Tasting Table's books are ePublishing-as-marketing done right.  It's a great example for Web, media, news and other companies to consider when they're thinking about approaches to digital publishing.

And the Autumn Whiskey Sour is a must try.

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