Newspapers have often had lobby stores selling T-shirts and other items. They’ve also long experimented with online stores. Reprints of the presidential election results sold especially well last November.
Last year, The Philadelphia Inquirer launched an especially aggressive store that sells a full range of retail goods, including books, local sports gear, sports tickets and other things. It also tied into the newspaper’s classified section.
Over the weekend, I noticed that the Los Angeles Times has been linking excerpted memoirs of longtime rock critic Robert Hilburn to its LA Times Store. The book is signed by Hilburn and sold at a discount price of $17.99. That’s compelling — the autograph is a nice touch.
But the LA Times must still compete with online book sellers like Amazon, which is selling the book at $16.49. It’s un-Internet delivery speed of “two to four weeks” makes the deal less attractive. Nevertheless, it shows the possibilities of tying journalism with content.