HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A conversation with David Rose, little magazine veteran and publisher of Lapham’s Quarterly
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 16, 2011, 10 a.m.

From Nieman Reports: For French news site Owni, ebooks aren’t just a side project

Owni “doesn’t carry advertisements and publishes all of its content under a Creative Commons license. Selling products — including e-books — is its big bet.”

Editor’s Note: Our sister publication Nieman Reports is out with their Winter 2011 issue,”Writing the Book,” which focuses on the new relationships between journalism and the evolving book publishing industry. Over the next few days, we’ll highlight a few stories from the issue — but go read the whole thing. In this piece, Federica Cocco writes about how the French site Owni is investing in ebooks in a big way.

Visit Owni.fr and adjacent to its logo, among French words and enticing graphics, is its English tagline: News, Augmented. The words reflect the website’s ambitious spirit, its dictum, and manifesto: to present news with an added layer of digital bonuses — maps and apps and interactive infographics. An intriguing red circle on a tiny pull string hangs from the top of our homepage. Scroll over the circle and the OwniShop logo appears. Move it away, and the logo vanishes.

This understated, almost coy advertising strategy mirrors Owni’s tentative ebook sales strategy. Though ebook sales in France are rapidly picking up, especially with the Kindle store opening this past October, Owni is the first media outlet in France to sell ebooks as part of its core editorial output.

The Owni website features augmented and data-driven stories and investigations. Blogger and Web entrepreneur Nicolas Voisin founded Owni in 2009 at a time when bloggers were involved in a massive campaign against France’s passage of the antipiracy HADOPI law involving copyright issues. With Owni, he created a platform for the blogging community and he hired staff to oversee the content, its presentation, and its distribution. The website’s editorial focus is promoting freedom of expression.

Like other websites in France, Owni receives a government subsidy and brings in some money through fundraising. Voisin’s Web agency 22Mars, founded in 2006, takes in revenue from the sale of various products related to Owni, including apps, online platforms, interactive maps, and infographics. Yet none of these items sells enough to make a profit. Will selling ebooks make a difference? It’s too soon to know.

Keep reading at Nieman Reports »

POSTED     Dec. 16, 2011, 10 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A conversation with David Rose, little magazine veteran and publisher of Lapham’s Quarterly
“I hear the argument, Oh, these poor little magazines with their tiny readerships, if only people appreciated them more. It’s partly true. But the bigger side of that is, well, if only you knew how to read a budget. If only you actually knew anything about publishing.”
The New Inquiry: Not another New York literary magazine
For New Inquiry publisher Rachel Rosenfelt, building cultural significance was easy — building a sustainable business is the hard part.
iOS 8: How 5 news orgs have updated their apps for Apple’s new operating system
ABC, the AP, Breaking News, The Guardian, and The New York Times have all updated apps (or introduced new ones) to take advantage of new features on iOS 8.
What to read next
753
tweets
How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news
“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”
727When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture.
714Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
The UpTake
Reuters
Center for Public Integrity
Current TV
SF Appeal
The Seattle Times
BuzzFeed
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Investigative News Network
Futurity
Press+
Poynter Institute