Dan Gross Finds the Win-Win Publishing Solution

This article, by Marion Maneker, originally appeared on The Big Picture website on 4/16/09. In it, Ms. Maneker describes how author Dan Gross exploited ebook technology to get his very time-sensitive book about current economic conditions out to the public far ahead of competing books scheduled for traditional, hard-copy publication.

Here’s an odd turn of events. In the midst of two simultaneous collapses–the finanicial system and the mediascape–Newsweek’s lead financial writer, Daniel Gross has found a way to turn both into a benefit.

It’s no secret that last September’s market swoon started a mad rush in publishing to “tell the story.” Even before the late Summer seize up, books had been commissioned that might explain the unprecedented failure of leadership, markets and regulation.

To date, only William Cohan’s book about Bear Stearns has been published. Charlie Gasparino, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Joe Nocera and Roger Lowenstein–accomplished writers and reporters all–are hard at work trying to wrestle the hydra-headed story onto the page. Will they succeed? And when their books are written will they get the publicity that is so essential to starting the sales cycle?

Dan Gross isn’t waiting to find out. He’s already published Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation as an e-book. Now his publisher, The Free Press, has released the 106-page book as a $9.99 paperback. The Washington Post recently covered the innovative publishing strategy:

E-book exclusives — as opposed to e-books published as spinoffs of a printed version — remain rare, because the market is still too small to sustain them. But Gross’s book offers a revealing window on how such exclusives could reshape “p-book” publishing. The decision to bring “Dumb Money” out in paperback, for example, was made only after the e-book’s appeal had been established.

Gross told the Post:

“If I could do something quickly, get out before all the people who are doing doorstoppers,” he thought, “then I will have had my say, got a book out, everyone will have to account for me or ignore me — and I’ll move on.”

Read the rest of the story at The Big Picture.