Can eBooks Save Newspapers?

Several high-profile news publications have recently released eBooks with new, exclusive and repurposed content. In PBS’ MediaShift Ideas Lab, Dan Pacheco explains Why News Organizations Should Follow HuffPost’s Lead And Try E-Books:

So here’s a crazy idea for you news organization managers out there. Why not tell your staff that they can publish e-books of their unpublished interviews in exchange for getting 50 percent of the resulting revenue? It’s money you’re not making now, and it’s low-hanging fruit. Create some incentives that tie directly to the hard work journalists already do and watch how fast they compete to curate the best newsbook.

While I find this idea quite interesting, I have a few questions: If this is so interesting, why hasn’t it been done until now? Certainly compilations of this sort are nothing new in print. If e is the new print, shouldn’t this idea do something more? Is it reasonable to imagine that revenues from eBooks will sustain the newspaper industry? Will news organizations offer a fair percentage of profits (or any percentage) to their staff writers?

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