Chicago Tribune Launches Ebook Initiative – but L.A. Times Opts Out

Three of the Tribune Co.'s newspapers have partnered with an Evanston, Ill., publisher and plan to release 50 ebooks by the end of the year

Tribune Company has kicked off an ebook initiative in partnership with Agate Publishing, collecting stories and photos from the Chicago Tribune and two other newspapers and selling them as digital long-form features.

Getty ImagesTribune, which has already released about two dozen ebooks since spring, has strung together archived work from its namesake paper and the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel and sold the ebooks for $4.99.

"As more papers see what we're able to do with this, they'll think, 'Oh, we can do that,'" Doug Seibold, Agate's CEO, told TheWrap.

He said the media giant's two other big newspapers, the Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times, have opted out of the partnership.

The Times has its own, in-house publishing unit, which has released six ebooks. The paper said last November that it would publish between eight and 10 ebooks this year.

"We’ll be adding titles before the holidays but haven’t announced details," Nancy Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the Times, told TheWrap.

Seibold said the company planned to publish 50 ebooks by the end of the year, including "Charlie Trotter," a personal history of the celebrity chef, "The Best of Mary Schmich," a collection of the Pulitzer Prize winner's columns, and "Capone," featuring previously unpublished photos of the Jazz Age gangster.

Also read: Apple Fights Back on E-Book Pricing: We Broke Amazon's Monopoly

"The Tribune Ebook Collection is a slice of the Tribune's work to provide news and information on every platform," Joycelyn Winnecke, vice president and associate editor of the Chicago Tribune, said in a statement. "The Tribune-Agate collaboration represents cutting-edge experimentation in the fast-changing ebook marketplace."

The Times circumvents the sort of profit-sharing deal struck between the publisher and the Tribune, Seibold said. He declined to say how profits from the ebooks are divvied among his company and the newspapers, but said it "is not a traditional royalty model."