This Week’s Headlines: Portable eBooks and a Vanishing Paywall

Two book-turned-movie phenomenons made headlines this week. First, movie-goers flocked to theaters last weekend for the opening of The Hunger Games, based on the popular YA books by Suzanne Collins, and later, J.K. Rowling released Harry Potter in ebook format. But those weren’t the only news stories this week. Here’s what’s happening in the media and publishing worlds.
  • The newsonomics of 100 products a year: News industry analyst Ken Doctor predicts that news organizations will soon cash in on what he call the 100-product-a-year model, producing ebooks and other products to monetize content. Earlier this month, we covered how one newspaper created a multimedia ebook by repurposing content from its website.
  • The New Republic Tears Down Its Pay Wall: With Facebook founder Chris Hughes at the helm of the Washington political magazine, The New Republic has removed its pay wall for recent articles. As we reported last week, The New York Times is reducing the number of articles available for free per month.
  • Daily Variety up for sale: Tinsel Town’s oldest entertainment industry trade pub is up for sale. It’s the only remaining print daily publication to exclusively cover the entertainment business, which experts say could lead to a sales price as high as $50 million.
  • Hunger Games and archery: A quick way to approach a trend story: This behind-the-scenes analysis of how the hit movie is making archery cool looks at how journalists and article writers spot trends.
  • Harry Potter and the Portable E-books: On Tuesday, the Harry Potter books went on sale in electronic form for the first time. Unlike most other ebooks, though, these books don’t use encryption, so readers have more flexibility to move them between devices and read them wherever they’d like. Amazon currently dominates ebook sales, but J.K. Rowling’s new web store, Pottermore, could shift the industry if it proves successful.
  • NPR experiments with local news headlines on national home page: For the next month, NPR plans to experiment with using local headlines from 13 cities on The goal is to use the website to shine the spotlight on member stations’ newsgathering and grow their audience long-term.

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About Susan Johnston

Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer whose work appears in, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor,, Parade Magazine, and SELF, among other places. She is the author of The Urban Muse Guide to Online Writing Markets and blogs at The Urban Muse.