Taylor Branch’s 14,417-word story, “The Shame of College Sports,” which exposes exploitation in college sports and draws comparisons between NCAA athletes and slaves, is coming to e-book. Longform-journalism house Byliner has published an expanded 25,000-word edition of the piece that was this month’s The Atlantic cover story.
The e-book, which costs $3.99, can be downloaded directly from Byliner’s website, and Byliner CEO John Tayman told Business Insider that it is only the beginning in what will be a long partnership between Taylor Branch, Byliner, and The Atlantic.
“The exploration of the NCAA as a colonial construct — we thought it was a subject worthy of book treatment, and that’s why we started talking to The Atlantic to make it a reality,” Tayman said. “We don’t see these things as competing products. The ultimate beneficiary of all of this is Taylor and readers.”
The e-book is about twice as long as what was already The Atlantic’s longest cover story in four years, and it introduces more characters and nuance than contained in the original version.
In addition to static releases like the e-book and the magazine story, Branch will be updating a blog on Byliner’s website, as Jon Krakauer has been doing for his e-book with Byliner, “Three Cups of Deceit,” which exposed author Greg Mortensen as a fraud.
“[The website] provides a platform for these writers to keep their stories alive, keep their narratives alive and continuing, and expand and engage the audience on this topic,” Tayman said.
Tayman said that all three players involved with “The Cartel” will derive revenue from its release, and that this collaboration is the first of many between their site, writers, and magazines. This will include a Q&A between Branch, The Atlantic, Byliner, and readers some time in the near future. Though The Atlantic funded Branch’s original reporting, Byliner paid him on top of that, and Tayman said all three parties worked together on determining the economics.
Other than e-books, which Byliner calls Byliner Originals, the site provides a free archive and Pandora-like recommendation engine for the best in long-form journalism.
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