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Wellness apps, but for news: Can Neva Labs build a news reading experience that feels healthy?
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March 22, 2012, 11:47 a.m.
LINK: www.theatlantic.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   March 22, 2012

Wheaton College professor Alan Jacobs, writing in The Atlantic, asks if ereader samples — which give readers a free taste of the start of a book — will lead more writers to put cliffhangers or key plot questions at the point where the sample ends. He also asks if Kindle user data, shared with authors, could lead to more reader-friendly structures:

Here’s the value: if a significant percentage of readers are running out of steam at the same point in a book, then perhaps the text needs to be sent back to the author for tweaking. A second edition — or a third, or a fourth: there’s no necessary limit to the iterations — can perhaps fix the problem, which can get more readers to finish the book, which can get the book higher ratings on Amazon, which can lead to higher sales. Unhappy readers of the first edition can be informed that there’s a freely downloadable New and Improved Version, which may induce them to give the book another try.

Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen, meets agile development and lean startup.

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Wellness apps, but for news: Can Neva Labs build a news reading experience that feels healthy?
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Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things
Plus other findings from a new study’s interviews with that increasingly common creature, the “news avoider.”
Combine an “editorially responsible” algorithm + political news, and you have Current Status
“I see my role as a sort of reinforcement editor, ensuring that the good stuff is always percolating to the top. Sometimes the news isn’t as neat as an algorithm wants to make it.”