Fans of true crime and British monarchy buffs are in for a treat this month as ABC News released its first ever video-enhanced e-books in collaboration with Hyperion Books last Thursday.
The first two enhanced e-books in the series, entitled A Modern Fairy Tale: William, Kate, and Three Generations of Royal Love and The Amanda Knox Story: A Murder in Perugia, will feature recent and historic video footage from ABC’s archives, as well as interactive timelines and up-to-the-minute news updates. And, oh yes—there will still be some actual text in there, too.
The enhanced e-books are a pretty tantalizing offer to non-fiction fans greedy for ever-more details about the news stories they follow on TV. And at only $7.99 per e-book, or $5.99 for a text and image-only format, ABC’s current-events e-books are likely to give hardcovers a serious run for their money. Overall, the venture seems like an incredibly creative way for ABC News to monetize their video archives while jumping on-board the increasingly profitable e-book business. And the partnership with Hyperion means ABC can cherry-pick from big names such as Jamie Oliver, Claire Cook, and Caroline Kennedy to write the text for the enhanced e-books.
Oddly, ABC News has chosen to pitch the new line of e-books as educational rather than as entertainment. In a press release, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said “Working with our colleagues at Hyperion, we are uniquely positioned to give readers access to history in a vibrant eBook form – from political campaigns and human drama to the triumphs and tragedies that grip the world.”
Whether or not the juicy details of the Amanda Knox trial or the upcoming royal wedding deserve to be classified as “history” remains to be seen. But one thing seems pretty certain: if the e-book market continues to explode at its current rate, ABC News and Hyperion stand to make a lot of money. According to Publishers Weekly, e-book sales rose by over 200% in February of this year, even as hardcover sales fell by more than 40%. With iPad sales in the millions, the potential audience for enhanced e-books is expanding every day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar partnerships between media outlets and publishers in the near future.