AskMen.com Ramping-up Ebook Program

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AskMen.com, one of the top men-focused lifestyle sites on the Web with 20 million monthly unique visitors, is ramping-up its nascent ebook publishing program.

The site has published five ebooks so far, starting this past June, and has sold them on Amazon and other retailers for prices ranging from $0.99 to $9.99. The content has been mostly re-purposed but upcoming titles will be original content. The company plans on publishing around 20 ebooks next year.

“We’ve been edging into it,” said Emma McKay, AskMen.com managing editor in charge of the ebook program. “The more that I learn and see, the more exciting it is to create really interesting, original long reads that speak to the interests of our readers.”

AskMen’s next book will be original content: a travelogue by former AskMen editor Adam Hodge will chronicle a two-month trip through Pakistan. The book doesn’t yet have a title and will go on sale Dec. 17.

While AskMen publishes at a wide range of prices, McKay said most will be priced in the $2.99 to $5.99 range and called $2.99 “the sweet spot.”

The site is also working on an online catalog of its ebooks, powered by PressBooks, the WordPress-to-ebook production tool. For now, AskMen will continue to distribute and sell only through established, online retailers — but the company plans on selling ebooks directly through its site through PressBooks in the future.

While McKay wouldn’t share specific sales numbers, the fact that AskMen will published many more ebooks next year suggests they have at least met expectations.

“Sales are picking up,” she said.

AskMen is part of a growing list of non-book-publishers that are entering the ebook publishing business. Most recently, Newsweek/Daily Beast entered into a partnership with Vook to publish ebooks. Playboy launched a series of shorts for the Kindle, the Washington Post announced an e-book program, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade publication focused on the higher education field, launched an e-book business. Other notable companies to jump into the space are magazine publishers Conde Nast and Hearst and NBC News, a division of NBC Universal. And the Wall Street Journal has recently rejuvenated its e-book program.

AskMen.com is owned by IGN Entertainment, a San Francisco-based media company that owns a series of men’s lifestyle-focused sites, including IGN.com, a video-game reviews and news site, AskMen.com and GameSpy.com.

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