In digital rights circles, we hear more and more about publishers who are monetizing their content by reusing and repackaging it creatively. To us, this signifies a shift: publishers are getting more savvy about ways they can mine their intellectual property for reusable content. Content that is repurposed for different digital environments can build authors’ brands, generate cross-selling opportunities, and most importantly increase and diversify revenue.
In this series, we will look at three strategies that publishers are using successfully to build revenue, monetize content, and profit from sales of secondary rights in the digital marketplace.
Many of these revenue-building strategies employ “chunking.” Chunking is the process of pulling content from published backlist books and repackaging it. These smaller chunks of content become part of a new book or other digital product. Think of it as a kind of content aggregation based on a publisher’s own backlist.
One intriguing example: the way Boston-based independent publisher Harvard Common Press has used technology to facilitate chunking. HCP has two focused lists, cookbooks and pregnancy/parenting. The firm holds twenty thousand recipes in its backlist. Chunking allows them, say, to collect all the eggplant recipes for a book on Best Eggplant Recipes, or curate the most-loved slow cooker recipes into a new collection.
HCP invested in a partnership with Yummly, a new ‘digital kitchen platfom’ site that uses semantic search technology. Forbes called Yummly “poised to become the billion dollar digital kitchen platform” in an article about the recipe site’s $6 million in Series A venture funding this spring. Users will be able to pay for recipes or subscribe. Both options will potentially yield royalty payments for licensed recipes.
“Publishers need to see themselves as tastemakers and players in the new online world,” HCP associate publisher Adam Salomone told Publisher’s Weekly last year. “Not just as content producers but as curators, trend-setters, and brands in their own right. And we need to do it now.”
Taking a page from her publisher, HCP author (and Bon Appetit contributor) Dede Wilson is launching what looks to be a similar venture, Bakepedia.
These represent just one type of creative use of content. In the next installment, I investigate a second business model for monetizing “chunked” content. I will also begin to cover some of the tools needed to manage your rights and the corresponding royalties.