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Books Tue Jan 24 2012
Back in 1946, the Chicago Tribune first introduced a Sunday book section to its readers that would become a staple of the newspaper for more than 60 years. Over time that section has shrunk to a single page you can now find in the Saturday edition. Eventually it wasn't worth the cost to continue printing the supplement, since more and more readers turned to the web's proliferation of literary sites for their information.
Today, the Trib is moving forward by looking backwards: Printers Row, a revamped book section of all things literary (with a Chicago focus), will be available in current subscribers' Sunday papers for an additional cost of $99 per year, at the rate of about $2 per week — if you're not a current subscriber but want to join the bandwagon, your premium goes up to $149 for the supplement. Want to dip your toe in every now and then? You can purchase single editions of Printers Row as e-books for $2.99 on Amazon.
This premium paid content is scheduled to reach subscribers next month, and will include 24 pages of book reviews, literary news, author interviews, special reports on Chicago and Midwest writers and a new piece of short fiction each week. Members will also have access to members-only book discussions, author receptions at the annual Printers Row Lit Fest, behind-the-scenes "literary" tours, and free entry to monthly live author conversations.
To generate interest, a sample of about 100,000 subscribers will get a free introductory issue this Sunday, and Trib executives hope to retain at least 10,000 of them. If you're not a subscriber but want to check it out, a digital version will be made available at that time, and will be accessible here. Readers can expect articles by guest authors, as well as Trib regulars such as Julia Keller, Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Jones and Rick Kogan.
"This is an innovation," said Gerould Kern, senior vice president and editor of the Tribune, in an article published today. "We're being aggressive and moving forward. We're trying to develop new ideas and get them into play. We're not going to just stand still. We're very hopeful that this is part of a new publishing approach that is right for the times."