Mining Content

January 5th, 2008

There’s a lot of content out there waiting to be rediscovered. Ted Turner built an empire by buying up old television shows and movies. My generation grew up watching The Little Rascals on syndicated television. As a kid I knew they were old, I didn’t realize that they first appeared before television. Turner made money off content other people had written off. He not only got kids like me to watch black and white films from the 1930’s, he was able to turn that property into new content including cartoons and feature films, not to mention kitsch merchandise.

There are tons of books that are no longer in print because their demand dropped off and their publishers didn’t find it worthwhile to reprint them. Some of them are still very relevant and are well suited for printing-on-demand and ebook format. Look at some of your favorite titles that are hard to find and consider getting hold of their copyright holders and see if they’re interested in having them reprinted.

Some content like video dates itself pretty well. Something shot in the 1980’s on video just looks tacky and unprofessional by today’s standards. However, put in the proper context, it still has value, especially if the people in the video are experts that are no longer around.

Sometimes content that looks really dated is perfect. Nostalgia is more popular than it used to be. I get a kick out of watching commercials from the 1980’s and 70’s. I saw them the first time and didn’t think they were all that tacky. For some reason they just look silly now.

Magazines, newsletters and fanzines are filled with articles and other content that can have lasting value. Getting the reprint rights to some of those can yield content that can be repackaged. Some of my favorite books are compilations of underground magazines that had limited runs. It’s cool to see all of that information compiled together.

Here are some places to look for content that can be re-used in new form with permission of the copyright holders:


Audio recordings

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