Medium Is Finding Premium Content in a Random House Partnership

Medium announced an ambitious pivot earlier in the year that left them perusing a premium membership that they needed premium content to back up. Meanwhile, book publishers are seeing their bottom lines shrink — they only increasing sales of paper editions thanks to the last few years’ trend towards adult coloring books. When your industry depends on adults coloring things, you’re in trouble.

What’s the solution? Banding together. Medium has today announced a partnership with Random House to deliver new types of content and audience interaction to Medium. The writing-centric social network will exclusively license large portions of a yet-to-be-released sci-fi humor novel by author Rob Reid.

How It Works

The novel, After On, will be published on August 1st. The first excerpt is already available to all, and two more will follow to give free users a look at what they’ve missing. Nine additional excerpts will be available to paying members, all prior to the book’s release. It’s not just excerpts, though: They’ll be paired with eight audio podcasts in which Reid interviews tech and science experts including Steve Jurvetson, Sam Harris, and Adam Gazzaley.

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Why Medium’s Interested

It’s a good fit for the site. Medium knows its audience is tech-savvy: The Ev Williams-led site attracted so many early adaptors in the technology and startup communities that it still can’t shake a reputation as a site for marketing advice and startup manifestos.

And Reid founded Rhapsody music before turning to novels. And in the fact that it’s sci-fi, a popular genre among tech enthusiasts, and this move seems like a relatively safe way for Medium to dip a toe in the general entertainment category.

Why the Author’s Interested

Writing on Medium (of course), Reid explained his thought process for the deal. The big bit of information? It was all his idea.

“After putting 7,500 hours of my life into it, I want After On to reach lots of people. But I’m even more interested in reaching the people it will truly resonate with. It’s quirky, costs money, and entails a real time commitment. So if it’s not right for you, I’d rather not take your dollars or hours (which is arguably bad for business — but good businesspeople don’t write sprawling novels for a living). Whereas if it is right for you, I want you to discover it with as little friction as possible. Both goals made a big excerpt on Medium seem like a good idea.”

Reid’s pitch mentioned the concept of a book excerpt appearing a popular U.S. magazine, and positioned his book’s excerpt on the Medium platform as the 21st century equivalent. He also points out that “Medium is perfect for maintaining author/reader connections between book releases.”

Smooth move, Medium. Now you just need to buy Patreon and I’ll have full faith in your pivot into subscriptions.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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