This week, James Dunn, director of marketing for The New York Times, announced the newspaper is planning to offer its Book Review disaggregated from the rest of the Times content on mobile devices, such as e-readers, according to Poynter. Dunn hinted at the plan during a session at the Digital Publishing Alliance and E-Reader symposium at the University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute.
Dunn spoke to Poynter's Bill Mitchell and explained the NYT will release its Book Review for three different e-readers, starting with the Sony e-reader soon. The feature will then be available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook. No details on when the iPad-friendly Book Review version will launch were given.
Dunn also told Mitchell that this 'disaggregation' iniative aims to identify which content categories should not be broken out, but should remain as part of the core product. As the NYT moves to offer its product on several e-reader platforms, it is beginning to think about what else might be spun off as separate products.
The Book Review would not be the first disaggregated product the paper offers. The NYT already sells a very successful spin-off product - its crossword puzzle. Last week, Will Shortz, the man behind the nation's most celebrated crossword puzzles, talked to The Hoffstra Chronicle and explained his puzzles have embraced the digital age, but without sacrificing its content for free.
The crossword puzzle is the only part of the NYT online that is not available for free at the moment. Over 50,000 people have paid the $39.95 annual subscription fee to access the daily puzzle and the puzzle archives. The puzzle's popularity has prompted the NYT to launch a 900 hotline for people who are in desperate need of a hint, and a Crossword Puzzle book, the best-selling book of its kind.
By disaggregating the crossword puzzle from the core content of the paper, the NYT has been able to monetize a fairly inexpensive part of its product.
This is just what the NYT is hoping to achieve by offering the Book Review separately. This opens the door for other popular sections of the newspaper to be sold separately according to how much users value them, multiplying the sources of revenue for the newspaper on new platforms.
The NYT's Kindle version currently costs $13.99, but no information on the price of the Book Review section was released.