I let my Sports Illustrated subscription lapse awhile back but my wife was kind enough to renew it last year for my birthday. While catching up on my SI reading tonight, I happened to notice all the references inside to si.com/vault.
Have you seen that site? If not, take a look. It's a full archive of SI and it's freely accessible to everyone, even if you're not a subscriber. I've been doing searches on it for the past hour or so and I'm rediscovering all sorts of great SI content from when I was a kid. I could probably waste away the rest of the night searching for things like "70's Pirates", "Roberto Clemente", etc.
OK, it's not that uncommon for magazines to open their archives like this, so what's the big deal? I don't have all night to search and read this stuff. Why doesn't SI marry this content to an e-strategy that they could further monetize? How about letting me search for "Roberto Clemente" and offering to create a PDF, an EPUB or a mobi file I can pull down to my computer, Kindle, Sony Reader, etc.? Go ahead and include the ads -- I'm fine seeing them in here. Or, sell it to me ad-free for $4.99. I'm not going to sit and read this on my computer for hours but I'd love to have it on my Kindle where I'll read every last word.
SI publishes a variety of books built off content that was published in their magazine long ago. They have "best of" books on all the major sports. Why not let me create my own based on the writers or topics I'm most interested in? Steve Rushin was my favorite sportswriter, but he "retired" a few years ago. I'd love to gather all his articles into a Kindle book. I'd even be willing to break my $9.99 Kindle price ceiling for something like that!
Then there's the gift angle. Wouldn't it be cool to create a custom e-book of SI content for the sports-lover in your family? Think about the Father's Day promotions they could do around this.
So again, I'll ask the question, why aren't magazine publishers thinking about this stuff? They seem to be heading down the same rat hole the newspapers have gone down. Quit whining and start leveraging your content archives!!!