Conference organization TED already publishes ebooks. Now it is selling them through a new app, Ted Books for iOS. Readers can also buy subscriptions.
TED’s book apps is built on the platform developed by Brooklyn-based publisher and developer Atavist. That allows for enhanced features like video and audio. For example, videos of TED talks are embedded into some of the books. The videos can be watched anywhere — “subway and airplane-ability are very important to us,” Tom Rielly, TED fellows and community director, told me. They can also be streamed to Apple TV through Airplay. An “embryonic” commenting feature allows readers to leave comments at the end of the books.
Readers can buy the books a la carte for $2.99 each or can purchase a subscription: $14.99 for three months of books. That price includes six books, with one new one delivered every two weeks. “Founding subscribers” — those who sign up in the first 90 days — get free access to all the books in the back catalog. (Authors are paid advances and also get a royalty each time their book is downloaded.)
“Assuming we get enough subscribers,” Rielly said, “we are guaranteeing an author a first printing that is larger than they were used to.” He noted that many TED speakers aren’t full-time authors. “They don’t necessarily have time to write a giant book,” he said, “but they can get one of these books together more quickly.”