I have just finished a story for the APA website http://www.apa.co.uk/news/do-long-stories-work-online which I think highlights a very interesting trend – the return of long form content online.
Since the advent of blogging longer stories have become so unfashionable largely because it seems we all have the attention span of goldfish with advanced amnesia, well when reading online anyhow.
Interestingly there is now some evidence which shows that if a person is presented with the right content they might read longer pieces online. The debate, which has been bubbling under for a few months now, has come to a head because of the following factors
1 Slate – The US website has been experimenting with very long stories which are apparnently proving very popular
2 The Times – One way to get people behind that paywall is to give them some seriously meaty reads
3 Blogs – like the brilliant http://www.nickelinthemachine.com are giving readers long form articles supplemented by images and video
4 Ereaders – Well the Kindle and the iPad. What might make it a lot easier for readers to look at long piece online is the growth of tablet PCs and ereaders like Amazon’s Kindle. Sales of ebooks on the Kindle format have already overtaken sales of hardback books from the Amazon US store. Meanwhile the iPad has delivered not just an alternative ereader, but also magazines with page turning facilities that are well suited for longer reads.
I stopped buying magazines ages ago (apart from Shindig http://www.shindig-magazine.com/) but I do like the idea of an online magazine with 20-30 page features. It would have to be something I was passionate about, but I think it really could work. I might even pay for it.