Pulling advertisements is an age-old tactic for businesses facing media criticism to seek retribution. But in the case of PBS, which exists in part as a way to limit commercial influence on educational television, doing so just feeds into writer Eugenia Williamson’s thesis — that the idealistic, Great Society-era initiative often behaves more like a corporate or political organism
TV shows are so 2013. Right now, it seems as if every prominent YouTuber is going to print. The latest creators with their own book deals are five online video personalities who will benefit from a deal between United Talent Agency (UTA) and Simon & Schuster: iJustine, Shane Dawson, ShayCarl, Connor Franta, and Joey Graceffa. Those five YouTubers will all publish books through Keywords Press, a new imprint of Simon and Schuster. Each book will relate to its author’s online personality in an attempt to draw YouTube viewers to bookstores. According to the New York Times, Keywords Press hopes to publish between six and ten books a year, each one based on an Internet content creator.
The News Hub bears similarities to other projects around the industry. Aside from Stolerman’s enthusiasm for Reddit and its voting system, Forbes has a similar model in allowing contributors to submit their own content and receive payment based on engagement, and last year Jurnid launched as a platform for journalists to publish with their own paywall.
What if scholars, publishers, and tenure-and-promotion committees embraced short-form e-books as a respectable way to deliver serious scholarship? A Kindle Singles model could help academics and publishers pick up the pace of production. It could be priced low enough to appeal to library budgets. It wouldn’t devour precious shelf space. It would suit libraries’ current desire to build up their e-book collections. And it might pull in new readers for serious scholarship. The approach would also free up scholars to write shorter, if that’s what their project called for. Not every idea needs 300-plus pages to fully explore. Daniel Cohen, an associate professor of history at George Mason University and an advocate of revamping the academic-publishing system, calls this “right-sizing scholarship.