You might be surprised to learn that Kevin Kelly’s latest project was not an online exclusive. Kelly is the founding executive editor of the online magazine Wired, which is now one of the leading online tech magazines. However, instead of uploading new content to Wired, his new venture is about downloading and offloading content from the virtual world and into the real world. And it’s been a huge success.
Kelly is the owner of website Cool Tools, which features reviews of tools and makes its money by referring readers to these tools on Amazon and receiving a small portion of the profit if the readers go on to buy the product. Cool Tools is a classic example of the ability of the internet to aggregate useful information in one easy to use website. After 10 years of running Cool Tools, however, Kelly thought he’d shake things up. He compiled the thousands of reviews on the site and assembled them in a print catalog which he self-published and sold for $39.99.
Who would pay that much for something they had free access to online? Plenty of people, as it turned out. His first printing of 10,000 copies sold out, and second and third printings of 12,000 and 20,000 copies respectively are on their way. Kelly was surprised by the immediate success of the book, but saw the demand for a physical version of the online content of his website. Quoted in the New York Times, Kelly said:
“There is something about having that large expanse of real estate in your lap, something about the format, that is extremely satisfying,’ he said. ‘Having many different things you may be interested in on a page, as opposed to a single thing surrounded by ads as it is on the web, leads to the formation of different connections and leads to a different experience.’”
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